Madhubani art is one of the famous art form in Bihar and it is believed that its origin dates back to the times of Ramayana, when King Janaka engaged the artists to paint the wedding ceremony of his daughter Sita with Lord Rama. Madhubani painting is found mostly in the Mithila region of Bihar. So it is also known as Mithila Paintings. It is one of the finest paintings you can ever see and is well known all over India.
Earlier, it was done only by the women on the walls of their houses using natural and vegetable colors. They made it every day, especially during the festive seasons. These paintings depicted the life cycle of man like the birth, sacred thread ceremony, marriage etc. They also made images of Gods, Goddesses, animals and characters from mythology. It was believed by the people that Gods and Goddesses visited their house daily and these paintings would please them. The paintings also show men and their association with nature. Paintings of sun, moon, the plant Tulsi, scenes from the royal court etc are common.
Nowadays people make paintings on canvas, clothes, readymade garments and other objects too. A paste of powdered rice is used to make Madhubani painting. The color used is derived from different plants. Ochre is used for reddish brown color and lamp black is used for black color. These paintings were considered as a skill that is passed on from one generation to the other.
Madhubani painting comprises of five styles, which are Bharni, Katchni, Tantric, Gondna and Gobar paintings. The first three styles were practiced by the upper castes and the last two by Harijans and Dalit people. But now there is o distinction as such. Madhubani paintings can be seen at various places in India and other parts of the world as well. They are well appreciated by all who love art and culture. It was officially recognized in 1970 and many of the Madhubani painters have been honored with national awards. When we visited Patna, we went to have a look at these paintings and were very impressed with them. We also bought a painting each to take back home.