Imagine the Ramayana coming alive in your home. Not on the small screen but your walls! With Madhubani wall paintings, every day can be an auspicious day! Let your walls recount the defeat of Ravana a the hands of Lord Ram, or Ram and Sita’s, marriage, or even scenes from other Indian mythology like the various Leela or moods of Lord Krishna Makhan Chor, etc. A touch of Madhubani wall art on your interior can help make your home, more colorful, stand out aesthetically and enrich your home decor by weaving tales of Indian mythology into it. In a world where our wall decorations are dominated by the same old monochrome wall paint or wallpapers, this will be something that can make your home stand out.
A Folk Art as Old as the Hills
Originating in the quaint Madhubani district of the Mithila region of Bihar, Madhubani painting is one of the only indigenous art which revolves around the various tales and myths related to Hinduism. Earlier Madhubani paintings were limited to wall arts but now this beautiful art has made its debut on canvasses, earthen pot as well as wood. This particular form of folk art is said to be more than 3500 years old! According to the local folklore of Mithila, the great king Janaka requested the local womenfolk to decorate the walls of the royal palace with paintings to celebrate the marriage of Lord Ram and Sita. The women decorated the palace with colorful motifs of lotus plants, fishes, birds, and various other scenes from nature. Since then the Madhubani paintings are a staple favorite of the locals of Bihar. Local artists are called upon to paint on auspicious occasions such as the birth of a child, Diwali, Holi, Kali Puja, or Chhat, etc.
Madhubani’s Journey to Limelight
The discovery of Madhubani painting was one aided by destiny, as it was purely accidental. In 1934 a huge part of Bihar including the Mithila region was devastated by an earthquake. Amongst the rubble of collapsed buildings, William G Archer ( a British civil servant ) discovered the remains of some Madhubani wall art. Later on, Archer would go on to become the South Asian Curator of Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and play a pioneering role in making the name of Mithila school of painting to the people.
Madhubani style got more popular once the medium of painting shifted to paper beside walls. It received national recognition in 1975 when Jagdamba Devi from Bhajparaul, Madhubani received a Padma Shree and Sita Devi from Jitwarpur (near Madhubani ) received a National Award for their contributions to Madhubani paintings.
Types of Madhubani Painting
As said before it is one of the very few Indian indigenous arts which solely focuses on the various mythological stories of Hinduism. It depicts episodes not only from Ramayana but Mahabharata and other epics as well. Madhubani wall art has 5 distinctive styles – Bharni, Katchni, Tantrik, Godna, and Kohbar. Among these, the Bharni style of wall art was mainly done by Brahmin or upper-caste women. The subject of these paintings focused mostly on the God and Goddesses and various deities of Indian mythology. In Hindi – ‘Bharni’ means filling – so the focus is on making the paintings full of color
Katchni – Unlike Bharni, the Katchni style of Madhubani wall art focuses on one or two colors. The subject is animals, flowers, and other elements of nature.
Tantrik – This style of painting depicts the entire pantheon of Hindu Gods and Goddesses
Godna – Pioneered by Chanu Devi who used to draw with finely crafted bamboo pens and used kajal to draw. Usually, elements of nature such as flowers, birds are drawn here. This type of art is famous both as canvas painting and as a tattoo.
Kohbar – This type of painting mainly focuses on depicting the Hindu ceremonial rites during a wedding and is usually used as decor for the wedding night.
What sets the Madhubani paintings apart?
Geometric patterns are a distinctive trait of Madhubani wall painting
It is one of the very few forms of art using natural color or hues made from natural, non synthetic sources like turmeric, sandalwood, ( for colorful hues), charcoal for black, Kusum flower extract for red color, red clay, and Palash flowers for orange, etc. The outlines of the paintings are still done in rice paste. So if you want a wall art or home decor item that is not just aesthetically pleasing, but 100% organic then you won’t find a better option than Madhubani paintings.
So this year give the walls of your home the perfect desi makeover, switch over to some Madhubani wall paintings.