Mithila Paintings or Madhubani Art, Bihar
Madhubani Art, also called Mithila or Maithili Paintings, are the prominent form of paintings of Bihar, practised by women of the Mithila region of Bihar, comprising the Maithili speaking region in the northern part of the state and bordering the Mithila state of Nepal. The painting is done with fingers, twigs, brushes, nib pens and matchsticks, using natural dyes and pigments, characterized by striking geometrical patterns. The subject of Mithila Paintings comprises ritualistic content for specific auspicious occasions, such as birth or marriage, and festivals such as Holi, Kali Puja, Surya Shasthi, Upanayanam and Durga Puja.
The origin of the art is traced in the age of Ramayana, when King Janakpuri had assigned the task of painting sketches of Sita's marriage to Lord Rama to few artists. The form came into the spotlight only when William Archer, a local Collector of a small province, had gone for inspection to the villages of Mithila after a major earthquake, and found these exquisite and vibrant works of art on almost all the walls and floors. The artwork and the detail involved appealed to him so much that he photographed them and along with his wife, brought them to modern limelight through some publications.
Madhubani Art has 5 distinctive styles - Bharni, Katchni, Tantrik, Godna and Gobar. It first received official recognition in 1969 when Sita Devi who specialised in the art received State award by Government of Bihar. Today, it has become a globally recognised and practised art form, thus there is no difference in the work of artists of the region on the basis of caste system. They practise the paintings in all five styles.
Mali Paintings, Bihar
Mali Paintings are paintings done on caskets by the Hindu castes of Bihar, whose chief occupation is making garlands for worship. Such caskets are made by men and colours are filled in by women and girls. The paintings on the caskets are exemplified by brilliant and dazzling colours that are elegant and eye-catchy, whilst their subjects are not portrayed in a literal or naturalistic manner and wildest distortions are used instead by painters to express an idea.