Deep in the rural interior of India, the women folk of a traditional people practice an art form that not only captures the legends and mythology of ancient culture, but also reflects the mixing of art and life. The beautiful region that lends its name to this art is Mithilanchal in northern Bihar, and so unique is this nearly 15000 years old tradition, that Mithila Paintings, also known as Madhubani Paintings, has the rare honor of being awarded Geographical Indications Patents Rights by the Government of India, for its distinct cultural identification.
The art of Mithila is characterized by the richly colored free hand figures that depict scenes from mythology and its reflection in daily life. They have a style so unique, with deliberately out of scale curves and miniaturizations, that anyone familiar with art will know with one glance that they are looking at the work of Mithila artists. Today, Madhubani art is recognized the world over, not just for its forms and colors, but also the deeply meaningful stories it portrays.
We at ‘MITHILAsmita’ strive to preserve the original Mithila art form in its several centuries old free hand style, by providing genuine artists from Mithilanchal a platform to showcase their work.
The Kohbar Ghar or the nuptial chamber is the room in which the painting has traditionally been done in the Maithil culture to bless a newly wed couple.
The central theme of these Kohbar paintings are love and prosperity.
Fish is a very auspicious theme of Mithila Painting.
For time immemorial, fish has been associated to proliferation of life due to its fertile nature.
Snakes are very commonly painted across all Maithil dwellings. Maithils not only worship snakes as deity, but also consider them a fertility symbol.
Hence snakes are found in the Kohbar paintings too.
LOTUS POND or Purain or kamaldah
In Mithila Painting, lotus flower is symbolic of female. So, a tradition is to draw a pond of lotus with all the fertile water animals in it called ‘purain’ or ‘kamaldah’. Also, as per Hindu mythology, Goddess Lakshmi (the Goddess of wealth) rests on lotus flower.
These paintings signify proliferation of life and prosperity.