DMPQ- Describe the salient features of Mithila school of paintings.

. Mithila painting also known as Madhubani folk art is the traditional art of the Mithila region of Bihar. They are produced by village women who make three dimensional images using vegetable colour with few earthen colours and finished in black lines on cow dung treated paper. These pictures tell tales especially about Sita’s exile, Ram-Laxman’s forest life, or depict the images of Lakshmi, Ganesha, Hanuman and others from Hindu mythology.

Apart from these women also paint celestial subjects like sun and moon. Tulsi, the holy plant also is to be found in these paintings. They also show court scenes, wedding and social happenings. Drawings in Madhubani pictures are very conceptual. First, the painter thinks and then she “draws her thought”. No pretence is there to describe the figures accurately. Visually they are images that speak in lines and colours and are drawn for some rituals or festivals on household and village walls to mark the seasonal festivals or special events of the life cycle.

Intricate flora, animal and birds motifs can also be found along with geometrical designs to fill up the gap. In some cases it is a special practice for mothers to make these art items in advance for their daughters as a marriage gift. These paintings also convey advice on ways to lead a good married life. There is also a social variation in subjects and use of colours. One can identify the community to which the painting belongs from the colours that are used in them. Paintings made by the upper, more affluent classes are colourful while those made by the lower caste people use red and black line work. But the technique of painting is safely and zealously guarded by the women of the village to be passed on by the mother to the daughter.

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