The home of Madhubani painting is in Mithila in Bihar. It originated in the hands of rural women looking to adorn the walls of their dwellings. The authenticity of the one you see on this page lies in its earthy appeal and, more importantly, in the canvas on which the work is done. It is handmade paper that has been specially treated with cow-dung for a texture that serves to bring out the thick lines and the bright colours.
The mandala motif is quintessential to Indian art. It stands for the universe of the purusha (soul), wherein each of the concentric circles represents the layers of the chitta (psyche). The convention is that the subject lies at the very centre of these layers, so this Madhubani depicts the mandala of the rudimentary matsya-chitta. For those of us with a weakness for natural water-bodies and the innocent creatures dwelling therein, this would make for a great piece of art to own.
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