Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Madhubani Sari

Madhubani Sari   
Madhubani is a folk painting done by hands, twigs pen nibs and matchsticks with natural colors and dyes. This art has its roots in the Mithila region, hence it is also known as Mithila art or Mithila Painting. Traditionally done by women in the villages of Bihar, the designs and aesthetics of Madhubani paintings have long been an inspiration for many fabric designs.

Origin & History

Madhubani carries a rich cultural legacy. Mithila being the birth place of queen Sita, the extraordinary tales of Madhubani art find its ancient ties in the mythical lore of Ramayana, with frequent depictions of her life stories. One can easily identify this rich craft because of its characteristic colorful geometric designs, Madhubani designs essentially depict scenes of royal courtyard, and Indian weddings, marriages and symbols of fertility and prosperity with dominance of motifs like fish, parrot, elephant, turtle, sun, moon, bamboo tree, lotus, etc. To maintain the creativity and precision, Madhubani paintings are made from the powdered rice paste, using fingers, nib-pens, brushes, match sticks and twigs, Dyes obtained from trees, fruits, flowers and spices are used to add colors. Women of Mithila spend dedicated hours every day to create these meticulous designs using two styles of coloring – Bharni and Kachni. The latter is used to outline the designs with fine lines while the Bharni process is used to fill in colors.


The art of Madhubani has three basic styles with regards to the caste system.

The first one is by the Brahmins. They are regarded as the highest among the three castes. Their paintings have vibrant colors and religious motifs of various gods. Since they has easy access to sacred texts, it helped them portray the mythological and religious motifs with ease.

The second one is by the Kayasthas. They were second to the Brahmins in the hierarchy of caste. Their style of painting symbolized fertility. The style has been practiced the the Aryan invader’s era and included motifs symbolizing procreation. Some common motifs used by them are lotus plant, sacred symbols, fish, tortoises, parrots and birds.

The third one were the Dusadhs. They were a low caste group who were banned from using any religious motif in their art. Their style of painting is also known as Tattoo or Godhana painting. Common motifs of flora and fauna can be seen in their art. With time as the social acceptance widened, they have now started painting motifs of gods. Interestingly, their use of vibrant colors is quite similar to the Brahmin style of painting.

Interesting Facts

Heritage of Madhubani art goes back at least 2,500 years, but it is during the past decade that this folk art has gained much prominence and is being celebrated in the fashion world.

Birth of Lord Krishna, Ram-Sita marriage, Krishna Raas-Leela, Invocation of goddess Durga, Lord Ram’s departure to the forest, are a few mythological events which are finely drawn in the form of Madhubani painting.

In Japan, there is a museum called ‘Mithila Museum’ which has over 850 Madhubani artworks on display. The art of Madhubani is not only famous in India but appreciated by people across the globe!

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