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Madhubani Strokes

Every state of India has something distinguishing to attract a traditional art lover like me.


Madhubani/Mithila painting  has been done traditionally by the women of villages around the present town of Madhubani , Darbhanga and other areas of Mithila (Bihar).
(the literal meaning of Madhubani is forests of honey) 

Madhubani is one of my favorite as its not dependent on any kind of brushes.
Almost anything can be used as brushes. The strokes are precise and bold at the same time.

15--2madhubani-11x30-800x550image : gaatha.com

Natural dyes from the vegetation are used in the painting.
Charcoal and Soot is used for Black and Rice powder for White.
Yellow is extracted from Turmeric, Red from Sandalwood and Blue from Indigo.

This painting style and Natural colors used give Madhubani paintings a rural charm.

arts-madhubani-workshopimage : IIMA

Madhubani paintings mostly depict the men & its association with nature
and the scenes & deity from the ancient epics.
Natural objects like the sun, the moon, and religious plants like tulsi are also widely painted, along with scenes from the royal court and social events like weddings.

Generally no space is left empty; the gaps are filled by paintings
of flowers, animals, birds, and even geometric designs.


Objects depicted in the walls of kohabar ghar (where newly wed couple see each other in the first night) are symbols of sexual pleasure and procreation.

ganga deviPainting by Ganga Devi

Recurring motif of a wall painting in the Kobhar Ghar,the nuptial chamber.
The six lotus flowers encircling a single bamboo stem are fertility symbols
with the lotus signifying the female and
bamboo representing the male generative powers.
Parrots,fish,turtles,banana and betel leaves , all surrounded them,
all symbolized fertility and regeneration.
The kohbar ghar is one of the best instances of ritual symbolism in the Madhubani style.

There are five distinctive styles in Madhubani art : Bharni, Katchni, Tantrik, Godna, Gobar.

Traditionally, Madhubani painting was one of the skills that was passed down from generation to generation in the families of the Mithila Region, mainly by women.
Mithila is also called the Land of Sita.


While reading about Madhubani Art, I came across some really interesting articles to know about the history of this Art.
One of the best is mentioned here : http://www.mithilapaintings-eaf.org/history.html

This article would be incomplete without mentioning about Mrs Gauri Mishra, who is also known as ‘Mother Teresa’ of Mithila.
She has brought in limelight some of the greatest master artists of Mithila.
You can read her testimonials here:

Madhubani is practiced today on Paper and Fabric also.
Yesterday, on my visit to one of the Handicraft bazaar in New Delhi, I came across this stall with a lot of Madhubani paintings.IMG_0458IMG_0457
A lady was drawing on a brown background paper with black ink.
I could stop myself and started talking to them.
Her little boy asked me to buy something, I am fond of small postcard size handmade paintings. So, I bought this Greeting from him.
It was not for much but with a typical mentality for Handmade stuff, I started bargaining
and suddenly realized what big mistake I was doing.
I smiled and paid to him the amount he asked initially 🙂


Handmade art is more complex than the product by big brands.
So, stop bargaining and pay them what they deserve or don’t buy.

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