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Madhubani paintings are among the most famous paintings in the world. It is said to date back to the time of Ramayana, when king Janaka asked an artist to capture his daughter Sita’s wedding to prince Rama. These paintings were usually created by women on walls and floors of homes during festivals, ceremonies or special occasions. Having originated in the Mithila region in Bihar, this form of painting, also known as Mithila art, has been in practice in areas around Bihar and Nepal.
Mithila or Madhubani paintings are done using fingers and twigs as well as matchsticks and pen nibs in the modern day. Usually bright colours are used in these paintings with an outline made from rice paste as its framework. There are rarely any blank spaces in these paintings. If there’s a border, it is embellished with geometric and floral patterns. Natural dyes are used for the paintings. For example, charcoal and soot for black, turmeric extract for yellow, red from sandalwood, blue from indigo and so on.
Madhubani paintings are charactersied by figures that have prominently outlined, bulging fish-like eyes and pointed noses. The themes of these paintings usually include natural elements like fish, parrot, elephant, turtle, sun, moon, bamboo tree and lotus. Geometric patterns can also be seen in these pictures that often symbolize love, valour, devotion, fertility and prosperity. This ancient art form has also been known to depict scenes of wedding rituals, religious rituals and different cultural events such as festivals, from mythology like Ramayana.