Madhubani-The Folk Hand Painted Art

The Word Meaning of ‘Madhubani’


Even the word ‘Madhubani’ has an inducive effect and sounds highly appealing to ears! It is a combination of two words, which have different connotations. The word ‘madhu’ represents ‘honey’ or such kind of sweets and ‘ban’ stands for forest or pack of woods. Thus, when we translate the word ‘Madhubani’ it becomes ‘Honey Forest’.






There is a popular belief that ‘Madhubani’ has a realistic connection with the primeval Hindu myths. This art form has another common name, ‘Mithila Art’. Generally, ‘Madhubani’ is designed by the women folk. In the initial days, the purpose of this art work was just to decorate walls or similar partitions, and the materials used for this were cow pies and mud. This decoration technique was applied, in the initial period, for augmenting the beauty of the floors and walls of residences (huts). In particular, these kinds of embellishment works were done during celebrations such as marriage or various other religious festivals. The created designs were purely emblematic in structure and these included pictures of bamboo groves, various species of fishes, snakes, birds, lotus, etc. That being said, things have changed considerably along with the rolling of time; these days, this designing method is widely applied for creating alluring designs on paper and dresses. However, nowadays, instead of cow dung and mud, a specially prepared paste using pulverized rice is used. These specially prepared dress materials are extremely eye-catching, and one can wear them during special occasions. The ‘fish’ design is widely used, because of the high significance; this design stands for richness and respect.




The Technique behind the Creation of ‘Madhubani’


Generally, the media used for creating the alluring ‘Madhubani’ designs include manually created paper, canvas, and cloth materials. The brush used for the designing purpose has also a special feature; it is just a bamboo stick with one end wrapped up with a rough cotton cloth. The effectiveness of double lines is made use of to do the sketching, and the spaces that lie within these lines are packed with crisscross or straight lines.




Frequently Used Colors

Vegetable colors (created using natural items) are used for creating ‘Madhubani’. Some of the popular colors that are used for this purpose are:

Red: Created using ‘Kusam’ flower. Red sandalwood is also used for making red.

Yellow: Pollen, the cream of banyan leaves, turmeric, and lime are used for creating this color.

White: Rice power is used for making white color.

Black: Soot powder is the base of this color.

Green: This color is prepared using the leaves of apple tree.

Blue: Created using Indigo.

Orange: Palasha flowers are used for creating this shade.


Distinguishing ‘Madhubani’

As this painting style has uniqueness, it has wide acceptance. You will be able to recognize ‘Madhubani’ just by looking at the designs. The generally seen motifs include the imaginary images of Hindu deities (these will have large eyes and noses), various types of flowers, moon, sun, fish, etc.



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