Bihar has its usual assortment of rural handicrafts of hand painted
wall hangings, wooden stools, miniatures in paper and leaves, stone
pottery, bamboo and leather goods and applique work. But Bihar's
most famous indigenous art is Madhubani paintings. Originally humble
expressions of the sheer creativity of the rural women, these village
wall-paintings now adorn gracious city homes and are also exported.
This art is a strict monopoly of the women of Mithila. Done in primary
colours of natural origin on paper and cloth, they narrate mythological
and religious events. However, the ancient designs in bright colours
can still be seen on the mud walls in the districts of Champaran,
Saharsa, Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Darbhanga, Samastipur, Begusarai,
Purnea, Bhagalpur and of course, Madhubani, the trade centre for
this unique art.
Traditional Wall Paintings
The tradition of painting walls for beautification of dwellings
in Mithila is believed to have survived from the epic period. Tulsidas
gives a vivid account of Mithila decorated for the marriage of Sita
with Ram. These decorations are mythological murals, added with
deities of Hindu pantheon, besides regional flora and fauna. The
earthquake of 1988 devastated parts of Darbhanga and Madhubani.
Perhaps, the greatest damage caused was in the palace complex, replete
with paintings done two centuries ago, as per the Mithila traditions.
The land of Mithila is covered by the present districts of Champaran,
Saharsa, Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Samastipur,
parts of Monghyr, Beguserai, Bhagalpur and Purnea. Madhubani is
the heartland where the paintings are more profuse than elsewhere.
Information on Traditional Crafts, arts, handicrafts of Bihar - India