Madhubani (‘Madhu’-honey, ‘Ban’-forest or woods) is a town in the Mithila region of Bihar, on the Indo-Nepal border. It is believed that the Madhubani painting tradition started when Raja Janak of Nepal commissioned local artists to paint murals in his palace in preparations for the marriage of his daughter Sita to Lord Ram. The paintings were originally done on walls coated with mud and cow dung.
The art resonates and is identified by paintings of symbolic imagery – the lotus plant, bamboo groves, fish, snakes, Hindu deities and mythology. It is a tradition followed even today, an art form that becomes more distinctive with time. The women painters still live in a close community and share passion for depicting their collective stories. The region was drought hit between 1966 and 1968. Mrs Pupul Jayakar , to re-initiate economic relief, urged the women to start painting on paper and cloth – thus giving birth to the Madhubani painting and textile art, as we know it!
The art is said to be like the work of Miro and Picasso. It is impossible to remain aloof from the colourful and skillfully executed paint work. It is beautiful not just visually but also in it’s tale of adaptation. It is a community that thrives on redefining and growing it’s passion by the inclusion of different mediums : walls, paper, canvas, sarees. This story reinforces our belief that a community cannot be built but must be nurtured by its own people.The art represents fertility and the proliferation of life – an idea that is larger than any calamity past or future ! And that is why we love the Madhubani form of textile art!
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