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Madhubani PaintingIt was the sheer co-incidence that I saw the advertisement on Indian Express as well as the boredom of staying in Chennai on the weekends that made me attend the Madhubani Painting workshop in Dakshinachitra. To be frank I had no clue about what a Madhubani painting meant, until I googled for the same on the eve of the workshop. I would love to say that it made my weekend useful and better. I got exposed to an art that was sheerly purely the form of expression rather than going by and for rules of painting. I wanted to write about this painting on Sunday night itself but was having some other appointments and a subsequent mental block so that I couldn't read / write / paint anything. Atlast I am here to present this beautiful form of art for those who haven't heard about this. Madhubani paintings traces it origin to the Ramayana days - when King Janaka commissioned artists to do the paintings on the walls of the city to celebrate his daughter Sita's marriage. May be because of that Madhubani paintings have Sita as the main protagonist.

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The name 'Madhubani' is derived from the words "Madhu (Honey)" and "Bani (Forest)" as it was practised by the women folks living in the forests. Normally these Madhubani paintings were done on the freshly plastered mud walls in the following areas of house - Khobar Ghar (The room decorated for the newly married couple to consummate their marriage), outside walls of the rooms and the verandahs. Madhubani is mainly an art practised by the womenfolk and it was passed on to the subsequent generation mainly by the elder women. But in the modern days, it is painted in the hand made paper as well as on the terracota walls. Nowadays you get Madhubani paintings on the curtains, bed spreads and even in the churidars.

Since it was practised by the women who were mostly confined into the walls of the house, this art was mainly a vent or a medium for their expression. So the physical anatomy proportions and 'authenticity' were never bothered about. This made the painting form easy to learn and practise for the women folks who were normally illiterates. The eye for colour patterns and aesthetics were well taken care of by the artists. Normally the colours were derived from the natural flowers and herb extracts, that gained its nature on drying. The paintings were basically the natural sceneries, royal durbars, deities whose style / pattern changed over with the passage of time however the traditional motiffs didn't change. The paintings depict any of the particular scene and the empty spaces were filled with the motiffs like flowers, birds, insects, animals and other elements of nature.


The deities that were depicted in the Madhubani Paintings were:-
1. Lord Rama & Family
2. Lord Krishna
3. Lord Shiva & Parvathi
4. Goddess Kali
5. Goddess Saraswathy

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