Introduction to Madhubani Painting
I have tried to write an introductory post about Madhubani paintings but failed. I wanted to introduce you to Madhubani and Mithila, to tell you about its origins and the story of how it became commercialized however there was some lie about it, some untruth that stopped me from writing such a useless post. I have never been to Bihar or Mithila, I have never attended any class to teach myself Madhubani, I have never read a book nor met anyone who liked painting Madhubani. If you are interested in Mithila art, you could read through those very similar articles in section "Other Madhubani Blogs" on the right side of this blog.
|The Madhubani Artist that sold me two Madhubani paintings, Delhi Hath|
I have also read those articles and I got to know things I didn't know before such as that Madhubani has been a big hot topic since 1970 and there were people like Gauri Mishra and a foreign man who was an anthropologist who did loads of hard work to make Madhubani as famous as it is now. There were earthquakes, floods, poverty and famine in the mountainous district of Mithila, a people that have a rich history and speak the language of Maithili who can be proud of one of the most powerful Hindu goddess Sita being born there were ripped off their sources to survive while farming.
I don't really know the full story and the full drama that happened there in 1970 but I imagine it as in the old Bollywood film "Mother India" were while trying to survive the great flood the poor heroine had nothing to eat but huge roots she pulled out of the water.
Soon after the natural disasters the government decided to make some changes and started a project that encouraged the villagers to forget about the farming and start putting their paintings from walls onto the handmade paper.
|Madhubani/Mithila paintings at Delhi Hath|
Accessibility of Madhubani Art
And it is really great they did it! As a result we can see those paintings or popularized motives on bed covers and cushions, saris and kurtas, jewel boxes and window frames or hanging above the stairs at the neighbors' house. It is also possible to buy it everywhere - at the Delhi Hath (Arts and Crafts market in Delhi), online, at a random arts shop at a supermarket and at the hotels. That's where I first saw a Madhubani painting - at a neighbor's house. It was a long framed painting that looked like black ink and water colors and the stylized symbolism, purity and simplicity that mischievously hid the thirty-something-million-Hindu-god-mysticism mesmerized me.
This is a great movie on Madhubani paintings Naina Jogin (The Ascetic Eye) by Praveen Kumar (full length), please watch!