Arts and Craft
The most well known and widespread part of heritage of mithila is its art form.The world famous mithila painting ,and Picasso of mithila painting is entitled to none other then the women folk of mithila itself.They are trained from their childhood in this art from and while they grow old ,they became expert in this art . Wall painting(Bhitta- chitra) and floor painting(airpana)are its two main forms.Now a days, it’s mostly done on paper with varied colours and fine artwork but it can be seen while various rituals of many holy occasions. Wall painting can be seen while marriage of any girl, in her kohbar(कोहबर) and floor painting or airpana(अरिपन) is done on almost every holy occasion and is an indispensable part of culture of mithila.
But the craft of mithila is also worth to be praised and it does not lag behind the art in any aspect .But the thing is, it got limited to this region only and does not get much exposure as like the art of mithila. People of mithila specially those lying on the periphery of the society are very much well trained in the various craft work and can amaze anyone through their spectacular skills and craft work. Some of the well known crafts of mithila are bamboo craft work,which include making of various baskets of different sizes and are known with various names like
koniya(कोनिया),soopa(सूपा) and chitta(छिट्टा).A special type of fan is also made out of bark of bamboo known as bena(बेना).Another one is sikki work(sikki is a special type of grass grown mainly in swampy and marshy areas with abundance of rainfall and water,its most commonly known as khar/खड़). Various small and beautiful items are made through this sikki,for eg; pauti(पौती) and mauni(मौनी). Some other crafts include terracotta artwork with some art work over it(most of which can be seen while various festivals like salhesh pooja,chhath pooja and sama -chakeva).The people of mithila have also reached at par in the handloom works. The famous silk work of Bhagalpur and madhubani khadi some examples of it.But due to lack of resources and capital these industries are facing a severe loss and are at the vicinity of getting closed.Closing up of many such small factories leads to a huge out migration from this region and also the talent of various skilled craft-persons are not getting utilised in a proper way. This situation is endangering the craft skills of these craft persons.
Preservation of such precious skill of art and craft ,is the need of the hour and we here at mithila heritage through this section of our art and craft introduce you with each and every aspect of this precious heritage of Mithila .
The most known part of Mithila's Heritage is its painting which is known worldwide as a Mithila Painting or Madhubani painting. As the name suggests this painting is mainly done in the region of Mithila specially in the villages of Madhubani,Darbhanga,Saharsha and Purnea .The outside world has came to know about this painting from the village of Ranti and Jitwarpur which is in district of Madhubani and hence these murals,came to be popularly known as Madhubani Painting.But the more appropriate name would be Mithila Painting which was suggested by W.G.Archer,who first drew attention to the mural painting to the Brahman and kayastha village communities of Mithila.
For many years this paintings were unkown to the world ,but it was in the year 1967-68 when this art form came into light. During this period the land was hard-hitted by drastic famine, and so the whole region came into grip of this terrible calamity. Rampant poverty of the region even worsened the condition , thousands of people starve for food and left with no other option to survive on.Among all these a lady ,embuded with a zeal to help the famished villagers,from the west came to the villages of Madhubani.Glooming all around,suddenly she was struck by the bright figures on the mud walls of hutments. She came to knew about the artists through people around and asked that lady to reproduce it on a peice of paper.And after the famine was over this art form is in front of the whole world with its catchy and vivid colours which attracted the veiwers eyes and marked its print over them.
The Madhubani Painting was reborn in 1967-68A.D., and reached new heights through the unrelenting efforts of the late Mr.L.N.Mishra,the then Foreign minister ,and through an active co-opertaion of noted artists of Bihar like Upendra Maharathi and Bhaskar Kulkarni.An intresting collection of some samples of Mithilas domestic arts may be seen in Chandradhari museum ,Darbhanga. Other well known artists are Maha Savitri Devi of Ranti village,Smt.Sita Devi of village Jitwarpur,Smt. Bua Devi Jha and Smt. Jagdamba devi.
The artists of these painting are not any particular men or women with a wide knowledge of arts and painting but are simple housewives who do not go to any school to learn the art of painting.Every girl learn this art from her near and dear ones and this tradition is passes on from mother to daughter through generations.No models are kept ,no specimen are preserved ;it is all natural.With the coming of the next generation of artists,the painting get something new ,with the result,the paintings are always fresh and virile with diffrent motifs and themes of that period.
Madhubani painting have no past,like the one we have in other schools of art,but only the present which provides sufficient clues for the assessment of artistic merits.No one can say when this Bhitta-citra(wall painting)actually began.But the symbolic representation to the design is very much similar to Harappan potteries and motifs on punch marked coins.The story goes that, It is said,when lakshman went to forest with Rama and sita ,his consort Urmila painted his image on wall and worshipped it daily. From these stories and mention of this art in ancient literature of Mithila,it can se safely inferred that this is a very very ancient art.
If we look into its socio-economic background ,we will get monopoly of women artists of mithila and there is perhaps no other country in the world where folk painting is mastered by women folk only.Madhubani in this respect is unique exception and this a very important fact and should be kept in mind while evaluating this art.
Its well known that in most of the part of India there is a patriarchal form of society and so this region also have strong hold over paternal lineage. While the pandits of this land were widely respected for their learning and scholarship,the ladies of the house were known for the beauty and fine asthetic taste.But they are widely confined to the four walls of their house and had no role to pay in outward activities.And so they created their own world through creativity and fantastic colours.This world to fantasy and colour move through their ideas and fingers-tips and could be possible only through Mithila women ,and by no one eles.These born artists have no set principles and instructions from book to follow:their own ideas and imagination plays a vital role in creating a particular art of object and belong to no any art school but creates a school of their own. With every generation, a new school is born,though the style remains the same.
Besides satisfying the urge of the artists ,this art work also have its own practical utility,which is obvious on any ocassion of diffrent social and religious festivities-such as birth if child, various sanskaar and rituals connected with different pujas and seasons.Being necessarily an integral part of family rituals,the womenfolk master this art theough inheritance and domestic traditions.
Like any other painting Mithila painting is also,largely an anonymous art But Mitihila holds a special credit for producing many Chitralekhas (first Indian painter,who was also an women)who have bought underlying fame and glory to the land of their birth through their immortal artistic creations.
Reference-Madhubani Painting by Upendra Thakur.
Editted By : Anjali
Editted By : Anjali
~ Yasha Sandilya
Editted By : Anjali