Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Madhubani Lampshade

Madhubani Paintings

           Readers, I am thrilled to be sharing my latest project with you all! My personal exploration of madhubani paintings has been an absolute pleasure and I am very pleased with the way this project turned out.

           Madhubani paintings, also known as Mithila paintings literally translates into “forests of honey”. Forests of honey…how sweet does that sound! Actually I love how all the traditional arts and crafts translate into these beautiful phrases with so much meaning and depth…my previous project Gond painting….‘painted stories’ and madhubani art..…’forests of honey’. 

Here is my Madhubani project.... A neat little lampshade isn't it!

          I started out with a plain lampshade which was covered in a handmade paper sort of material. 

               Madhubani is a rural form developed by women from Mithila, an area in the state of Bihar, in India. Madhubani or Mithila Paintings as they are called, are said to have originated during the period of Ramayana, when King Janaka commissioned artists to do paintings during the wedding of his daughter, Sita to Lord Ram.

            A significant identifier of Madhubani paintings is the fact that there is hardly any space on the painting left uncovered. Another identifier is the double lines used. The outline is done with double lines; the gaps between the lines are sometimes filled with lines. Typically the paintings will also have a margin or a border, but this too will be embellished with geometrical patterns, or flowers or other motifs. The colors are bright, vibrant and eye catching. There is very little shading in the paintings.


              The coloring is of two styles- Kachni (hatching) and Bharni (shading). Kachni uses delicate fine lines to fill the painting and not much color is used. Bharni uses solid colors to shade and fill the pictures. It uses black outlines filled with vibrant colors. 

            These paintings traditionally based on mythological stories, folk themes, and religious symbolism depict events of birth, marriage, and cycles of life. These paintings of nature revolve around a central theme of love, valor, devotion, and fertility. You will find scenes of courtship, marriage, and symbols of fertility and prosperity like fish, parrot, elephant, turtle, sun, moon, trees, lotus, etc. in prominence. Hindu gods and goddesses are a common theme in madhubani paintings. 

            Almost anything can be used to paint them; finger, pens, twigs, matchsticks, and brushes.  Cloth, handmade paper, silk, canvas, and walls in houses were used as surfaces for these paintings. The Kobhar (walls of the nuptial room) were decorated with these paintings to bless the newlywed couple. The colors for the paintings are natural dyes derived from the vegetation found in the forest and other natural substances. Charcoal and soot is used for black and rice powder for white. Yellow color is extracted from turmeric, red from sandalwood, blue from indigo and so on. This painting style and the natural colors used give Madhubhani paintings a raw rural charm and makes this style so popular. 

Didn’t my project turn out great?!

It is important to note that:
A traditional art form passed down from one generation of women to another; very few of the painters consider themselves as artists. Madhubani paintings generally carry no mark of the creator. Sadly, several styles and schools of Madhubani painting have become extinct, as there are no practitioners of those styles anymore. Madhubani paintings began to receive national as well as international attention around the 1970s, with many Madhubani artists’ receiving national awards. National and international art markets began to recognize and create a demand for these vibrant and intricate paintings. Art Houses have developed in the state of Bihar, which mass produce Madhubani paintings to meet the demand for them. However, this business model does not recognize the individual artist and the focus is on the art house.

My reference and study for this write up and all the specific information on these paintings was sourced from:

Other web pages to peek at for some madhubani pieces:
google image search: madhubani paintings, madhubani art

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