Mithila painting (also known as Madhubani painting) is practiced in the Bihar state of India and in the Mithila state of Nepal. Painting is done with fingers, twigs, brushes, nib-pens, and matchsticks, using natural dyes and pigments, and is characterized by eye-catching geometrical patterns.
Here are the facts you should know about the divine and natural art called Mithila Painting :
1. This art form originated way back before Ramayana era. According to locals Raja Janaka, king of Mithila had commissioned once his craftsmen to decorate the whole kingdom with this painting on the occasion of marriage of Bhagwati Sita , his daughter and Bhagwan Rama.
2. They paint pictures of nature and mythology to depict different events like birth marriage and cycle of life.
3. Originally the paintings depicted an assembly of symbolic images of the lotus plant, the bamboo grove, fishes, birds and snakes in union. These images represented fertility and proliferation of life.
4. Originally the painting was done on freshly plastered mud wall of huts, but now it is also done on cloth, hand-made paper and canvas.
5. Mithila Paintings has two varieties: Bhittichitra and Aripana
6. Bhittichitra is done on the mud-walls of houses particularly at three places: room of the family god/goddess, room of the newly wedded couple ( Kohbar) and the drawing room.
7. Paintings are done on the outer and inner walls of these rooms and on Marba , on some auspicious occasions like marriage, upnayana (Holy threading ceremony) and festivities like Dussehra and Deepawali.
8. Sun and Moon are also painted because it is believed that they bring prosperity and joy to the family.
9. Mostly used colours in these paintings are deep colours like red, green, blue and black. Besides, deep colours other colours like yellow, pink, and lemon are also used.
10. All these colours are prepared by indigenous methods form some household products like banana leaves, milk and vermilion.
11. Aripana (Alpana) is an art of line drawing on floors to depict lotus , feet , cronch etc.
12. Aripana are done on the eve of certain rituals or ceremonies such as Puja, Vrata, and Samskara.
13. These are drawn fresh and new on each and every occasion especially in the courtyard, door front and other important places.
14. Mithila painting, as a domestic ritual activity, was unknown to the outside world until the massive Bihar earthquake of 1934. House walls had tumbled down, and the British colonial officer in Madhubani District, William G. Archer, inspecting the damage “discovered” the paintings on the newly exposed interior walls of homes.
15.He was stunned by the beauty of painting , and took black and white pictures of that abroad , which is still kept at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum
16. Then a second natural disaster, a severe draught in the late 1960s, prompted the All India Handicrafts Board to encourage a few upper caste women in villages around Madhubani town to transfer their ritual wall paintings to paper as an income generating project.
17. This way Mithila Painting got an international platform to stand out in thousands of art form.
18.Mithila had long been famous in India for its rich culture and numerous poets, scholars, and theologians – all men (except few).
19. Mithila painting has turned the table around , and women also cash in the opportunities , Representing the region’s cultural Property to whole world.