Ramayana is one of the age-old Indian epics, which highlight
the rich and respectful culture of Hinduism. The Madhubani art that you see on
this page is a prominent ‘Sita Haran’ episode of Ramayana, where Ravana to take
revenge for his sister Shurpanakha, disguised himself as a hermit and came to
Mother Sita, asking for alms with a condition that she has to come out of her
cottage, hence crossing the Lakshmana Rekha and oblige the faux hermit with
food, which is when Ravana took his real form and kidnapped Sita in his magical
chariot. The painter has painted every aspect of the story with great precision
and in a beauteous choice of a bright colour palette.
Madhubani art dwells from a small village, Mithila in Bihar,
done by women expressing the creativity and sensitivity of people by depicting
themes of religion, love and fertility. The entire painting is veneered with
artistic geometric patterns along with spaces occupied with wondrous flowers
and birds. With the marvellous light hued background, the artist has gracefully
highlighted every colour and feature of this folk art. Underneath the high
mountains with the sun shining bright and colourful peacocks perched on the
green leafy fruits bearing tree, stands Sita, an ideal wife, daughter and
mother in Hinduism with the alms bowl and Ravana (as muni) holding a kamandalu.
Bulging fish-like eyes and pointed noses of the figurines
are some of the key features of a real Madhubani painting. Sita is adorned in a
fascinating tri-coloured lehenga and sober jewels for perfection, and the long-bearded hermit has solid yellow and black striped dhoti along with a flower
motif stole. With the blooming flowers and lush green grass, this Madhubani art
is an amazing amalgamation of bright and dull colours. This colourful Sita Haran
scene is sure to brighten up your empty wall space.
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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