19 July, 2018

Madhubani painted silk saree

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Madhubani Painting
Madhubani painting is one of the many famous Indian art forms. As it is practised in the Mithila region of Bihar and Nepal, it is called Mithila or Madhubani art. Often characterized by complex geometrical patterns, these paintings are known for representing ritual content for particular occasions, including festivals, religious rituals, etc. The colours used in Madhubani paintings are usually derived from plants and other natural sources. These colours are often bright and pigments like lampblack and ochre are used to create black and brown respectively. Instead of contemporary brushes, objects like twigs, matchsticks and even fingers are used to create the paintings. 
History & Evolution
Madhubani paintings originated in the Mithila region of Bihar. Some of the initial references to the Madhubani painting can be found in the Hindu epic Ramayana when King Janaka, Sita’s father, asks his painters to create Madhubani paintings for his daughter’s wedding. The knowledge was passed down from generation to generation and the paintings began to adorn the houses of the region. The women of the village practised these paintings on the walls of their respective home. Their paintings often illustrated their thoughts, hopes and dreams. 
Over time, Madhubani paintings became a part of festivities and special events like weddings. Slowly, this art attracted connoisseurs of art as many contemporary Indian artists took the art on the global stage. The traditional base of plastered mud wall was soon replaced by handmade paper, cloth and canvas. Since the paintings have been confined to a limited geographical range, the themes, as well as the style, are more or less, the same. 
Style & Designs
Madhubani paintings were initially practised by different sects of people and hence the paintings were categorized into five different styles, such as Tantrik, Kohbar, Bharni, Godna, Katchni. But today, these five different styles have been merged by contemporary artists. The themes used in these paintings often revolve around Hindu deities like Krishna, Rama, Lakshmi, Shiva, Durga and Saraswati. Also, heavenly bodies like the Sun and the Moon often form the centrepiece of Madhubani paintings. 
One can also find paintings based on the scenes from the royal courts and social events like weddings. The usage of geometrical patterns is pretty much apparent in these paintings. The fact that these complex mathematical patterns were used in Madhubani paintings makes them more intriguing and special.
These paintings are also known for their simplicity, for the brush and colours used are often derived from natural sources. While the paintings are largely made using powdered rice, colours derived from turmeric, pollen, pigments, indigo, various flowers, sandalwood, and leaves of various plants and trees, etc. Also, many natural sources are combined and are processed to obtain the desired colours. The colours are often prepared by the artists themselves. If the artists come across empty spaces even after completing the painting, they usually fill up those empty spaces with the motifs of flowers, animals, birds and geometrical patterns. A double line is usually drawn as the border. 

I am wearing a Madhubani painted saree on silk. The silk is so soft that it can put butter to shame. It is an absolutely lightweight and flowy fabric. See the video here. 
If a saree is soft and lightweight, there are good chances that I will buy it. Probably, this is a reason why I stay away from embroideries on sarees because they add to the weight on a saree that I have to haul around. 

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