Madhubani Paintings The Ancient Traditional Art

Madhubani Paintings:

Madhubani paintings, the famous traditional paintings in ancient in India. These paintings are very attractive and made with natural colors. Madhubani Art practiced in ancient Mithila once the capital of Janaka Maharaj, father of Sita in Ramayana. So this painting was famous as Mithila Painting. The paintings were born in the village of Madhubani. Hence, the paintings became fame as Madhubani Paintings. Still, the style of the paintings attracting the youth, many varieties of designs also occurred in making this art.

Madhubani art in Ramayana:

From the epic stories, Mithila was an ancient kingdom, most powerful capital of eastern India. It was very large and spread to the present north-eastern India and southern Terai region of Nepal. On the occasion of Sita marriage to Lord Rama, Janaka the father of Sita commissioned artists to do the Madhubani designs to decorate the premises of the marriage to attract the guests. In the ancient period and at present also most of the Madhubani paintings have been done by the women around the present villages Madhubani and Mithila. The artists painted the Madhubani art paintings on the mud walls of the huts. Gradually, the tradition changing as drawing the art paintings on the cloth or handmade paper canvas.

madhubani paintings


In the mid of the year 1965, the villages Madhubani and Mittali faced drastic drought. The villagers faced many problems like starvation for many days. The central government took action to aid the area people and the artists who have been following the decoration of the houses with Madhubani paintings. Then Bhaskar Kulkarni, the aid worker for the Indian government arrived at the village to study the art as well as encouraged the artists to draw the same pictures on the papers instead of clay coated walls. Even she supplied freely the materials like paper, colors to the artists. The encouragement caused the artists to draw Madhubani Folk art very attractively.

Later the government sold the painting through government handicraft shops all over the country in order to contribute the artists to the artists. Like these efforts of the government and the encouragement of Bhaskar Kulkarni, the paintings became famous as Madhubani Paintings.

Also Read: Kalamkari Art 

Madhubani Painting Designs:

The themes of the Madhubani art revolves around the epics, myths, and Puranas. The themes of the paintings adopted from the brave stories of Gandharvas, the beauty of apsaras. Although the stories of the paintings based on teaching the morals to the public. The artists adopt the themes not only from the Hinduism but also from Buddhism. There is a question why the artists paint mostly the spiritual subjects and Gods? Because their desire is to please the Gods for easily sustain in life. At the time of wedding ceremonies and on auspicious days, the artists embellish the walls of their homes with mythological story drawings. The wedding rooms decorated with symbolic paintings like fertility in life.

There are three variations of styles are in progress. 1. Bharni Paintings. 2. Kayastha Kachina Paintings. 3. Tattoo Paintings of Dusadh community.

Bharni Paintings:

Bharni Paintings are one of the styles among Madhubani Paintings. The painters used the mixed rich colors to attract the attention of the spectators. These rich colors made the designs rich lavish to the paintings. The theme of the painting is mostly adopted from the Hindu mythologies, God incarnation stories. The Bharani painting style is colorful with rich line forms. Drawing the forms to the artists is very easy due to their knowledge in mythologies. The artist’s common subjects are Lord Vishnu, Goddess Kali, Goddess Durga, Lord Krishna, and other Gods and Goddess.

Kayastha Kachina Paintings:

With the support of the Indian government, many woman artists started drawing the Madhubani paintings on the papers to earning money. The artists also getting fame in their Kayastha community. They also wanted to make their art forms worthy so that they came forward with a new style of line paintings. In a unique feature of Kayastha tradition, the artists use only monochrome or just two colors, called Katchni paintings. First, Ganga Devi draws this style of paintings from Raseedput village of Madhubani district.

Tattoo Painting of Dusadh Community:

Dusadh community people being landless and belongs to the lower castes. They servicing the upper caste people for many years. After seeing the success of Madhubani artists and their earnings, their inner urge caused them to draw paintings on paper for extra income for household purposes. These people encouraged by Bhasker Kulkarni and Erica Moser the German anthropologist. Jamuna Devi was the first Dalit woman who started these paintings. The theme of the painting is their legends, songs, and rituals which associated with the Rahu, Sun, Moon and their cultural hero Raja Sailesh.