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Madhubani Painting also known as Mithila Painting is practiced in the Mithila region of Bihar in India. Painting is done with fingers, twigs, brushes, nib-pens, and matchsticks, using natural dyes and pigments, and is characterised by captivating geometrical patterns.
Madhubani painting or Mithila painting was traditionally created by the women of various communities in Mithila region of India. It originated from Mithila region and Madhubani district of Bihar, and became the major export centre of these paintings. Hence, the popular name Mithila painting or Madhubani painting.
This painting as a form of wall-art was practiced widely throughout the region even in olden times. The painting was traditionally done on freshly plastered mud walls and floors of huts, but now they are also done on cloth, handmade paper and canvas. Madhubani paintings are made from the paste of powdered rice. This art-form has remained confined to a compact geographical area of India, and the skills have been passed on from generation to generation locally through centuries. The content and the style however, have largely remained the same. And that explains why Madhubani painting has been accorded the coveted GI (Geographical Indication) status.
Madhubani paintings mostly depict man's association with nature and natural scenes, and also deities from the ancient Hindu epics. Natural objects like the sun, moon, and religious plants like Tulsi etc, are also widely painted, along with scenes from the royal courts and social events like weddings etc. Generally no space is left empty; the gaps are filled by paintings of flowers, animals, birds, and even geometric designs. Traditionally, this painting was one of the skills that was passed down from generation to generation in the families of the Mithila Region, mainly by women. It is still practiced and has been kept alive in the institutions spread across Mithila region.
Kalakriti in Darbhanga, Vaidehi and Benipatti in Madhubani district, and Gram Vikas Parishad in Ranti are some of the major centers of Madhubani painting that have kept this ancient art-form alive.
Madhubani art has five distinctive art-styles, namely, Bharni, Katchni, Tantrik, Godna and Kohbar. Have a look here at some of these folk paintings of India :