Parrots, Decorative Design – Madhubani Folk Art
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Madhubani, which literal translates into Forest of Honey, is a small village in northern state of Bihar. The origins of Madhubani (or Mithila) art is shrouded in antiquity. Tradition states that this art style dates back to mythology of the Ramayana, when King Janak commissioned artists to do paintings at the time of marriage of his daughter, Sita, to prince Ram. However, the contemporary art of Mithila painting was born in the early 1960Õs, following the terrible famine in Bihar. It was Baskar Kulkarni from the All India Handicraft Board in Delhi who recognized the commercial potential of this folk art form and urged the villagers to also paint on handmade paper to supplement their meager income and alleviate the poverty of the region. Over the past fifty years a wide range of styles of Madhubani art have evolved, with styles differentiated by region and caste. It is the Mithila women who have kept the culture alive especially in painting by passing the skills down from generation to generation. Women do most of the Madhubani paintings and their creativity can be experienced in their desire to please their gods and to develop their spirituality. Madhubani paintings typically depict figurines in two dimensional imagery. Even today ritual paintings done on walls are painted with natural plant and mineral-derived colors, using bamboo twigs in lieu of brush or pen. Contemporary themes like social identity and women rights finds itself depicted along with nature and Hindu religious motifs. Natural objects like the sun, the moon, and holy plants like Tulsi are also widely painted, along with scenes of social events like weddings. Generally no space is left empty; the gaps are filled by paintings of flowers, animals, birds, and even geometric designs.