The origins fo Madhubani Painting are shrouded in
antiquity, and a tradition states that this style of painting
originated at the time of the Ramayana, when King Janak
commissioned artists to do paintings at the time of marriage
of his daughter SITA, to Hindu Lord Ram.
Madhubani Painting has been done traditionally by the
women of villages around the present town Madhubani, the
literal meaning of which is forest of honey and the areas of
W.G.Archer, I.C.S., then S.D.O., Madhubani brought these
paintings to the attention of outside world after the great
Bihar Earthquake in 1934.
The All India Handicrafts Board, encouraged the
women of Madhubani to paint on paper instead of
Walls and Floor to facilitate the sale of paintings
Outstanding Artists such as Jagadamba Devi. Sita
Devi, Mahasundari Devi, Ookha Devi, Baua Devi and
Karpoori Devi and many more were discovered.
Credit goes to Puppul Jayakar, Bhaskar Kulkarni,
Upendra Maharathi and Lalit Narayan Mishra for
popularising the painting both in country and abroad.
A style of Indian Paintings practised in Madhubani,
Darbhanga, Sitamarhi, Sheohar, Part of Samastipur,
Purnea and Muzaffarpur.
Depict Nature and Mythological events.
Themes generally revolve around Hindu Deities like
Krishna, Ram, Shiv, Durga, Laxmi, Kali and Saraswati.
Natural objects like Sun, Moon and Religious plants
like Tulsi and Social events like Wedding also painted.
Paintings done on walls during festivals and religious
events and other milestones of the life cycle such as
Birth, Upanayan (sacred thread ceremony) and
Wall Painting (Bhitti Chitra)
Canvas Painting (Pata Chitra).
Floor Painting (Aripan).
Art shifted to Drawing Paper in 1960s
This brought with it a new freedom and creativity as
paper is moveable
Painting on Clothes and Sunmica
Now Bihari women use the style of Madhubani
Paintings on Sarees, Dupattas etc with fabric
BHARANI KACHANI GERU GOBAR GODANA TANTRIC
Artist prepare colours from natural sources.
Black Colour is obtained by mixing Soot with Cow dung;
Yellow from Turmeric or Pollen, Blue from Indigo, Red from
Kusum Flower juice or Red Sandalwood;
Green from Leaves of the Apple tree, White from Rice
powder, Orange from Palasha flowers.
Raw materials mixed with Goat milk, gum arabic and
juice from bean plants.
The Colours are applied flat with no shading.
There is normally a double line drawn for the outlines
with the gap between the lines filled by cross or straight
NO sophisticated tools are needed in Madhubani
Paintings. Artists are still unfamiliar with modern
One brush made from Bamboo Twigs
Other used brush for filling in the space which is
prepared from a small piece of cloth attached to a
Women of the Brahim Caste
Women of Kayastha
Women belonging to Scheduled Castes
Women of Minority
About 4,000 registered artisans are working in this
Self help Groups have been formed.
Several N.G.Os are active in Production and Marketing.
SMT. JAGDAMBA DEVI - 1970
SMT. SITA DEVI - 1975
SMT. GANGA DEVI - 1976
SMT. GODAVARI DUTTA - 1980
SMT. MAHASUNDARI DEVI – 1981........
12. STATE AWARDEES
SMT. MAHASUNDARI DEVI – 1978-79
SMT. KARPOORI DEVI – 1980-81
SMT. SHASHIKALA DEVI – 1980-81
SMT. HIRA MISHRA – 1981-82 ..............
CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE BY THE STATE GOVT.
LATE RAUDI PASWAN, SRI SWAROOP LAL PASWAN, SMT. PATALI
DEVI, SMT. KAUSHLYA DEVI, SRI GANESH PASWAN, SMT.URMILA
DEVI, SMT.SHILA DEVI, SRI RAMJI RAM, SMT.RAMPARI DEVI,
SMT.CHANO DEVI, SRI SHIV NARAIN PASWAN, SRI UTTIM LAL,
SMT.URMILA DEVI, SMT.PAVITRI DEVI, SMT.TRIPURA DEVI,
SMT.SUMATI DAS, SMT. LALLI DEVI, SMT. VINA DEVI,
SMT.MAHANAMA DEVI, SMT.YOGMAYA DEVI, MS. NAMITA KUMARI,
SMT.VALESHWARI DEVI, SMT.DHARMSHILA DEVI,
SMT.CHANDRAKALA DEVI, SMT.MUDRIKA DEVI.
13. As the map indicates, the
Mithila region and the
villages around Madhubani
are situated near the
northern edge of the state of
Bihar as it approaches the
India-Nepal border. People
of Mithila have their own
language and a sense of
regional identity that goes
back more than 2500 years.
14. In the Hindu epic the Ramayana,
the powerful king Ravana
becomes smitten with Rama's
wife Sita and arranges to distract
her husband in order to abduct
her. He dispatches a trusted
associate, capable of shape-
shifting, who transforms himself
into a golden deer that lures
Rama away from his forest camp.
As the deer is slain by Rama's
arrow, the demon emerges. But
by that time it is too late: Sita has
been carried away by Ravana.
15. One of the ordeals successfully
completed by the youthful Krishna was to
pacify the great serpent Kaliya who had
been disturbing the otherwise peaceful
waters of the Yamuna River. A
conventional representation of the
subject has Krishna lightly poised on one
foot (much as he is in the paintings with
the milkmaids) while standing on the
serpent. The style of this painting is
unusual for Madhubani art which typically
seeks to fill all available space.
16. The pastoral stories of
the youthful Krishna are
filled with images of his
exploits, pastimes, and
are trickster elements to
some of the stories,
including one that has
him keeping watch in a
tree while the milkmaids
bathe in the river
beneath him. Here he is
simply tending the cows
who gather around him
with the same kind of
devotion that is said to
be directed toward him
by the milkmaids and by
all human souls.
17. Brandishing Just as the
the weapons goddess
that were Durga can
given to her represent
by the gods, the
incapable of fury or
defeating the wrath
great demon (krodha) of
Mahisha, the the gods,
Durga sets Kali can
off on her represent
lion vehicle the
to find and concentrat
destroy him. ed fury of
18. A painting with some
of the kobhar
themes. The married
couple are alone
within the confines of
cottage or kobhar
ghar. There are
elements of the
traditional bamboo or
bansa symbolism as
well as other nuptial
symbols intended to
ensure long and
19. A symbolically rich and
powerful painting of the
kohbar -- the design that goes
on the formal wedding
proposal and on the walls of
the small cottage in which the
marriage rites are completed. A
traditional rural upper-caste
Madhubani household is
composed of four huts
arranged in a rectangle around
a central courtyard. One of the
four is used only for the
marriage ceremonies of
daughters of the household.
For four nights she and her
husband perform rites under
the supervision of women
there in the kobhar ghar. In the
painting, the couple are
represented as approaching
from the right, the husband
leading the way. Above are the
energies of sun and moon. To
the left is the main symbol of
the kobhar, an axis of bamboo
(bansa) that represents the
groom's lineage (baansa).
Organized around it are the
many subsidiary symbols.
tending to his
under a tree.
lost in the
music while the
cows gather Madhubani Painting depciting
around him "Swayamwar" scene from the epic
with the same 'Ramayana'. Beautiful Sita, adorned by
jewels and ornaments, walks slowly towards
Ram, while her friends wait on her. Carrying
devotion that is
a garland of flowers in her hands, to be put
shown by all around Ram's neck and solemnize the
the milkmaids. 'swayamwar' ceremony.