Durga, also revered as Adi Parashakti, is the goddess of war. She is the Mother Goddess who is considered the fierce (warrior) form of Parvati. Durga's narrative is often associated with fighting the evils in the world that disturb the peace and propagate oppression. True to her iconography, this Madhubani painting depicts Durga as riding a tiger,a symbol of power, or the Shakti. She is also painted with eight arms which represent significance. Take for example the beads one of her right hands, which are used by Hindus for meditation and prayer. On another hand she can be seen wielding an arrow that represents energy. Even when depicted as a warrior god, her face is painted as calm and serene which stems from the belief that even if she combats evil, she does so out of compassion and love for the good.
This painting is done in signature Madhubani fashion which uses vibrant natural colors and geometric patterns all over the canvas. One unique feature of these paintings from the Bihar region is that all space and corners of the paper are filled with either color or design. There is an abundance of orange and red plus accents of black, blue, and green in the painting. Durga is also opulently dressed in a garb that is intricately designed. Her skin is orange and her hands are red; her forehead also features a jewel that represents a power to see through the divine. The tiger, along with other elements in the painting, is also painted with lively colors and non-traditional lines that make the piece eye-catching.
Madhubani painting is also known as Mithila art as it is practiced
in the Mithila region of India and Nepal. It has specifically
originated from the Madhubani district of the state of Bihar.
Traditionally, the women of this region created these paintings
and in recent years, it has become a widely practiced art and has
now become renowned throughout the world. This art expresses the
creativity and culture of the people of Mithila and is passed from
one generation to another. In this way, the heritage of Madhubani
art has been preserved for many decades.
The subjects of these paintings are usually religion, love, and
fertility. Sometimes, social events like festivals, weddings, and
royal court are also depicted in the paintings. The most commonly
painted designs and themes are the forms of Hindu Gods and
Goddesses such as Ganesha, Shiva, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Krishna, and
Ram. The characteristic features of Madhubani paintings are their
vibrant colors and eye-catching geometrical patterns. The empty
spaces are filled with traditional motifs such as floral and
foliate patterns, animals, birds, geometrical structures, and
other designs. The local artists create these paintings using a
variety of items such as matchsticks, twigs, brushes, pens, or
even their own fingers. The paints are usually made with natural
dyes and pigments.
As simple as it may seem, the making process of the world-famous
Madhubani paintings is certainly not easy and requires lots of
Traditional Madhubani paintings are done either on cloth,
handmade paper, or canvas. Select the medium of painting as per
your choice. If you have chosen cloth, attach it to cardboard to
make a solid base.
The making of the painting begins with making a double-lined
border. This is a very important step because the border is
filled with various geographical shapes and patterns or other
motifs. The average width of the border is 1.5 - 2 cm.
Now that the border is created, you will be left with a blank
middle space. This is the main workspace. Start drawing your
choice of figure, designs, and shapes. These must be relevant to
the Madhubani painting themes.
When the key design has been made, the empty spaces in between
are filled with some designs.
Now is the time to color the painting using vivid shades and
hues. Colors in Madhubani are sourced from nature; Indigo is
used to produce blue, flower juice produces red, turmeric gives
yellow, leaves produce green, cow dung mixed soot gives black,
and rice powder gives white.
To paint these colors, the artist uses a bamboo stick and wraps
cotton around it. This acts as a traditional brush.
The entire painting is now painted using this special brush with
natural vibrant colors. · However, in modern times, the common
brush is used and instead of natural colors, artists prefer to use
Since the entire painting is made with natural materials and
colors, it appears simple yet enriching. Originally, this art was
created on mud walls or soil grounds but when it evolved over many
years, the people of Madhubani started to make it on fabric and
paper. Today, this art has become globalized and is receiving
worldwide attention and appreciation.
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