How did Madhubani painting become famous?

There is one common thing about almost all the art forms of India. They have been in existence since many centuries, yet they have gained fame only in the last few decades; for eg. Gond art, Warli painting, Mandala art etc. have an interesting story about their discovery to the outside world.

The Madhubani painting, a.k.aMithila painting is no different. Named after the Mithila region of Bihar state, it has been a tradition among the women of that region to draw the Madhubani painting since many centuries. But the rest of the world came to know about the Madhubani painting only in the 20th century.

It was the year 1934 and a massive Earthquake of 8.0 magnitude shook the regions of Nepal and Bihar. Because of the severity of the quake, the houses of the Mithila region came tumbling down and the Madhubani paintings were out in the open. William G. Archer, the then British colonial Officer discovered these paintings and noted the similarities between them and some of the European artists. He took B/W pictures of some of them back.

He also wrote about the Madhubani paintings in 1949 in ‘Marg’ Journal. Thus, began the spread of this art. Then in 1966 to 1968, a drought broke the agricultural economy of the region. One part of bringing some economic relief to the people, Ms.PupulJayakar, the then Director of All Indo-Nepal Handicrafts Board sent a Mumbai based artist Mr.Bhaskar Kulkarni to Mithila to encourage the women to make their paintings on paper so that these can be sold and they will be able to earn for their families by the Madhubani paintings.

Even some foreign scholars like Yves Vequad, Erika Moser, and Raymond Le Owens have promoted this art form internationally. This wonderful art form got an official recognition in India in 1975 when Jagdamba Devi of Jitwarpur village near Madhubani was awarded the Padma Shri by the President of India. Because of the efforts of Tokyo Hasegawa, even Japan has shown a good interest in Mithila paintings since the 1990s.

The spread of Madhubani painting continued to the rest of the world and because of the Internet, social media, Information Technology, today Madhubani painting is known and revered all over the world.

Posted By Abhilasha

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