Madhubani painting: An ancient art on verge of extinction


Madhubani is also known as 'Mithila' painting originated in Bihar and few stretches of modern-day Nepal. This art has its special mention in the Hindu epic Ramayana, where Raja Janaka, ruler of Mithila ordered to paint his entire kingdom with these beautiful paintings on the occasion of the wedding of his daughter Sita with Lord Rama. Since then these paintings have been an integral part of the region's culture and tradition. Women transfer the knowledge and technique of the art to their daughters and that's how it is passed on to the next generations. Due to the emergence of modern art forms and the lack of any institution for teaching and learning the ancient Madhubani art, now this beautiful heritage is on the verge of extinction. 


The painting is essentially based on religious themes, depicting love and fertility. These are drawn on auspicious occasions as symbols of happiness and prosperity. Red, green, yellow, and blue are the dominating colors of the painting with a wide variety of geometrical shapes. Themes revolve around the stories of Hindu mythology like Raadha- Krishna, Sun god, etc. with nature as a dominating factor.  Initially, the painting was made on the mud walls but now the prints are popular on paper, cloth, and other materials too. 

madhubani a lost art form

Recently the government has initiated few steps to support this heritage of India by involving more and more people in learning this skill and making it a form of livelihood. Students are motivated to take this art form as their hobbies and few NGOs are supporting the women associated with this art. The tourists have taken a keen interest in this form and this has resulted in the establishment of few exhibitions around the country. One cannot deny the efforts in the field to save this art, but the emergence of new print and arts has definitely made Madhubani an endangered form. There is a need to make our children aware of this form of art and make them realize the unique heritage this art carries. A more active approach is the need of the hour.