Madhubani painting is practiced in the Mithila region of Bihar and Nepal, thus, it is called Mithila or Madhubani art.
Origin : It is believed that this art form originated during the times of Ramayana. Raja Janak called artists to capture the wedding of his daughter with Lord Ram in the form of Madhubani paintings. The knowledge was then passed down to the next generations and the paintings began to adorn the houses of the region. The women of the village started decorated the walls of their homes with Madhubani paintings. Their thoughts, hopes and dreams were often illustrated in these paintings. Over time, Madhubani paintings became a part of festivities and special events like weddings. Slowly, this art attracted a lot of traction as many contemporary Indian artists took the art on global stage. Soon, the traditional base of plastered mud wall was replaced by handmade paper, cloth and canvas.
Colors and brushes : Madhubani paintings are also known for their simplicity, the brush and colors used were derived from natural sources. Traditionally, powdered rice, colors derived from turmeric, pollen, pigments, indigo, various flowers, sandalwood, and leaves of various plants and trees, etc were used to obtain color. Instead of contemporary brushes, objects like twigs, matchsticks and even fingers were used to create the paintings.
Styles : Madhubani paintings were categorized into five different styles: Tantrik, Kohbar, Bharni, Godna, Katchni. This is because Madhubani paintings were initially practiced by different sects of people. Today, these five different styles have been merged by contemporary artists.
Iconography : Stories of Hindu deities like Krishna, Rama, Lakshmi, Shiva, Durga and Saraswati form the theme for Madhubani Paintings. Also, heavenly bodies like the Sun and the Moon often form the centerpiece of Madhubani paintings.