The focal point of this painting is the Tree of Life. What makes it stand out is that its leaves and branches are made completely by figures of birds and fishes. The fishes are typically depicted in Indian art as a significant animal. Its most notable form is Matsya, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, who saved Manu (the creator of mankind) from a deluge. Given this, it is natural to see the fish's symbolism as rebirth and life seamlessly tied to the imagery and meaning of the Tree in this artwork. Meanwhile, the bird-element in the painting can be seen seamlessly integrated into the large group of leaves all over the branches. At the bottom of the tree are other animals such as elephants, representing strength and power. This lively painting portrays how other life forms flock around the Tree of Life and how all things are united by that which gives life. The depiction showcases signature Madhubani art form that uses natural colors and detail-packed imagery that leaves no space in the canvas blank.
Madhubani painting is also known as Mithila art as it is practiced
in the Mithila region of India and Nepal. It has specifically
originated from the Madhubani district of the state of Bihar.
Traditionally, the women of this region created these paintings
and in recent years, it has become a widely practiced art and has
now become renowned throughout the world. This art expresses the
creativity and culture of the people of Mithila and is passed from
one generation to another. In this way, the heritage of Madhubani
art has been preserved for many decades.
The subjects of these paintings are usually religion, love, and
fertility. Sometimes, social events like festivals, weddings, and
royal court are also depicted in the paintings. The most commonly
painted designs and themes are the forms of Hindu Gods and
Goddesses such as Ganesha, Shiva, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Krishna, and
Ram. The characteristic features of Madhubani paintings are their
vibrant colors and eye-catching geometrical patterns. The empty
spaces are filled with traditional motifs such as floral and
foliate patterns, animals, birds, geometrical structures, and
other designs. The local artists create these paintings using a
variety of items such as matchsticks, twigs, brushes, pens, or
even their own fingers. The paints are usually made with natural
dyes and pigments.
As simple as it may seem, the making process of the world-famous
Madhubani paintings is certainly not easy and requires lots of
Traditional Madhubani paintings are done either on cloth,
handmade paper, or canvas. Select the medium of painting as per
your choice. If you have chosen cloth, attach it to cardboard to
make a solid base.
The making of the painting begins with making a double-lined
border. This is a very important step because the border is
filled with various geographical shapes and patterns or other
motifs. The average width of the border is 1.5 - 2 cm.
Now that the border is created, you will be left with a blank
middle space. This is the main workspace. Start drawing your
choice of figure, designs, and shapes. These must be relevant to
the Madhubani painting themes.
When the key design has been made, the empty spaces in between
are filled with some designs.
Now is the time to color the painting using vivid shades and
hues. Colors in Madhubani are sourced from nature; Indigo is
used to produce blue, flower juice produces red, turmeric gives
yellow, leaves produce green, cow dung mixed soot gives black,
and rice powder gives white.
To paint these colors, the artist uses a bamboo stick and wraps
cotton around it. This acts as a traditional brush.
The entire painting is now painted using this special brush with
natural vibrant colors. · However, in modern times, the common
brush is used and instead of natural colors, artists prefer to use
Since the entire painting is made with natural materials and
colors, it appears simple yet enriching. Originally, this art was
created on mud walls or soil grounds but when it evolved over many
years, the people of Madhubani started to make it on fabric and
paper. Today, this art has become globalized and is receiving
worldwide attention and appreciation.
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