Mithila and Madhubani Artists

About the Artist

Photograph by Édouard Boubat - Mithila, India 1973
Photograph by Édouard Boubat - Mithila, India 1973

Perhaps the best known genre of Indian folk paintings are the Mithila (also called Madhubani) paintings from the Mithila region of northern Bihar state, as well as the region across the border in Nepal. For centuries the women of Mithila have decorated the walls of their houses with intricate, linear designs on the occasion of marriages and other ceremonies, Painting is a key part of the education of Mithila women, culminating in the painting of the walls of the kohbar, or nuptial chamber on the occasion of a wedding. The kohbar ghar paintings are based on mythological, folk themes and tantric symbolism, though the central theme is invariably love and fertility.

The contemporary art of mithila painting was born in the early 1960’s, following the terrible Bihar famine. The women of Mithila were encouraged by the All-India Handicrafts Board to apply their painting skills to paper as a means of supplementing their meager incomes. Once applied to a portable and thus more visible medium, the skills of the Mithila women were quickly recognized. The work was enthusiastically bought by tourists and folk art collectors alike. As with the wall paintings, these individual works were painted with natural plant and mineral-derived colors, using bamboo twigs in lieu of brush or pen.

Over the ensuing sixty years a wide range of styles and qualities of Mithila art have evolved, with styles differentiated by region and caste - particularly the Brahmin, Kayastha and Harijan castes. Many individual artists have emerged with distinctive individual styles. Among the best known early Brahmin artists have been the late Ganga Devi (1928-1991), Baua Devi (b. Late 1940s), Sita Devi, Karpoori Devi and Mahasundari Devi (1922-2013).  Today’s leading artists, working in the kayastha style, include Pushpa Kumari  granddaughter of Mahasundari Devi.  Other painters in their family include Pushpa’s brother Pradyumna Kumar and younger sister Mala Karn.  Baua Devi was the only woman artist from India to show at the groundbreaking  Magiciens de la Terre exhibit in 1989 at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.  Works by several of these Mithila artists (Baua Devi, Sita Devi and Mahasundari Devi), were included in the show Stories, Ceremonies and Souvenirs: Popular Paintings from Eastern India at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Among the current generation of Mithila artists, Pushpa Kumari, and younger artists such as Mahalaxmi Karn and Shalini Karn have expanded the canon to embrace contemporary issues of education, technology, women's rights and marriage equality.

Region:
Krishna and the Gopis
SKU: SHLK-2201

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Ink and acrylic on paper
21 1/4” x 29 1/4” sheet (54 x 74.5cm)

$900

Family in a Rickshaw
SKU: SHLK-2202

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Ink and acrylic on paper
21 1/4” x 29 1/4” sheet (54 x 74.5cm)

$900

Mithila painting
SKU: MTP-1706

Undetermined artist - Madhubani, Bihar, India
c.1976
Ink and paint on paper
(22" h. x 30" w. )

$550

Mithila painting
SKU: MTP-1710

Undetermined artist - Madhubani, Bihar, India
1975
Ink and paint on paper
(30" h. x 22" w. )

$550

Naina Jogin (the eye goddess)
SKU: MHXD-2120

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019.  Acrylic on paper (19 1/2” x 12 3/4” on 22” x 15” sheet).

The artist explains:  "A character that is painted in the nuptial chamber in Mithila. She is supposed to bless the newlywed couple, protect them from evil eye and also to ensure conjugal warmth forever.  I thoroughly enjoy doing this image again and again especially the eye. It is so simple and the effect hypnotic."

 

$450

Mithila painting
SKU: MTP-1703

Undetermined artist - Madhubani, Bihar, India
1978
Ink and paint on paper
(30" h. x 22" w. )

$450

Mithila painting
SKU: MTP-1705

Undetermined artist - Madhubani, Bihar, India
1976
Ink and paint on paper
(22" h. x 30" w. )

$450

Baby Krishna Suckling at the Breast of the Demon Putana
SKU: SHLK-1901

Shalini Karn - Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Ink on paper (20 1/4" x 12" on 22" x 14 3/4" sheet).

$400

Mithila painting
SKU: MTP-1711

Undetermined artist - Madhubani, Bihar, India
1979
Ink and paint on paper
(22" h. x 30" w. )

$375

Birds in a Green Tree
SKU: RMK-1702

Madhubani, Bihar, India
c.2011
Ink and paint on paper
(30 1/2" h. x 22" w. ).

$375

Mother and Son
SKU: MHXD-2117

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2021
Acrylic on paper (13 3/4” x 9 3/4” on 15” x 11” sheet).

$360

Mother Massaging the baby
SKU: MHXD-2118

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2021
Acrylic on paper (13 3/4” x 9 3/4” on 15” x 11” sheet).

$360

Mithila painting
SKU: MTP-1709

Undetermined artist - Madhubani, Bihar, India
c.1976
Ink and paint on paper
(22" h. x 30" w. )

$350

Mithila painting
SKU: MTP-1702

Undetermined artist - Madhubani, Bihar, India
1976
Ink and paint on paper
(22" h. x 30" w. )

$350

Red Birds in a Fruit Tree
SKU: SHLK-1903

Shalini Karn
Madhubani, Bihar, India
c.2018
Ink on paper
(15 1/4” x 11 1/2”).

$250

Hanuman - Mithila painting
SKU: MTP-1701

Undetermined artist - Madhubani, Bihar, India
1982
Ink and paint on paper
(30" h. x 22" w. )

$475

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Monkey Riding on Elephant
SKU: MHXD-2119

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019.  Acrylic on paper (19 1/2” x 12 3/4” on 22” x 15” sheet).

$450

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Mithila painting
SKU: MTP-1704

Undetermined artist - Madhubani, Bihar, India
1979
Ink and paint on paper
(22" h. x 30" w. )

$450

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Mithila painting
SKU: MTP-1708

Undetermined artist - Madhubani, Bihar, India
1978
Ink and paint on paper
(30" h. x 22" w. )

$450

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Mithila painting
SKU: MTP-1707

Undetermined artist - Madhubani, Bihar, India
1976
Ink and paint on paper
(22" h. x 30" w. )

$375

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Birds in a Tree
SKU: RMK-1701

Madhubani, Bihar, India
1/4/2011
Ink and paint on paper
(22" h. x 29 1/4" w. ).

$375

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Krishna and the Gopis
SKU: SHLK-1902

Shalini Karn - Madhubani, Bihar, India
c.2019
Ink on paper (15” x 11” on 16” x 12” sheet).

$275

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Ganesh - Mithila painting
SKU: MIT18

Unknown Artist - Madhubani, Bihar, India
Late 20th cent.
Ink on hand-made paper
(30" h. x 22" w. )

20% off

$225

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Seated Woman Taking a Selfie
SKU: MHXD-2106

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2021
Acrylic on paper (10 1/2” x 7 1/8” on 11 5/8” x 8 1/4” sheet)

$225

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Girl under an umbrella
SKU: MHXD-2105

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Acrylic on paper (10 1/2” x 7 1/8” on 11 5/8” x 8 1/4” sheet)

$225

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Mother Train (bringing the labourers home after the Covid lockdown)
SKU: MHXD-2104

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2020
Acrylic on paper (6 3/8” x  8 1/8” on 7 1/4” x 9 1/8” sheet)

$175

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Girl in the Garden - Mithila painting
SKU: ANK-0601

Anjana Kumar - Madhubani, Bihar, India
Late 20th cent.
Ink on hand-made paper
(22" h. x 15" w. )

$175

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Shiva and Parvati - Mithila painting
SKU: MIT19

Unknown Artist - Madhubani, Bihar, India
Late 20th cent.
Ink on hand-made paper
(30" h. x 22" w. )

25% off

$225 $168.75

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Sun God
SKU: MHXD-2103

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Acrylic on paper (4” x 6” on 5” x 7” sheet).

$75

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Lady Getting Ready
SKU: MHXD-1907

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Acrylic on paper (6" x 4" on 7" x 5" sheet).

$75

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Lady with a Fan
SKU: MHXD-1906

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Acrylic on paper (6" x 4" on 7" x 5" sheet).

$75

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Indian Contemporary Art: Contemporary, One Word, Several Worlds

Text by Hervé Perdriolle
Photographs by Hervé Perdriolle and others.
5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2012
248 pages

Product Status: 
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$55.00
Snake Goddess - Mithila painting
SKU: BD-0702

Baua Devi - Madhubani, Bihar, India
Late 20th cent.
Ink and watercolor on paper
30" h. x 22" w. )

 

Price on request

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Tiger Eating Man - Mithila painting
SKU: BD-0704

Baua Devi - Madhubani, Bihar, India
Late 20th cent.
Ink and watercolor on paper
30" h. x 22" w. )

Price on request

Product Status: 
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Fish-Carrying Woman with Daughter and Son - Mithila painting
SKU: BD-0703

Baua Devi - Madhubani, Bihar, India
Late 20th cent.
Ink and watercolor on paper
30" h. x 22" w. )

Price on request

Product Status: 
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Snake Player - Mithila painting
SKU: BD-0705

Baua Devi - Madhubani, Bihar, India
Late 20th cent.
Ink and watercolor on paper
22" h. x 30" w. )

Price on request

Product Status: 
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Two Girl Friends - Mithila painting
SKU: 
BD-0701

Baua Devi - Madhubani, Bihar, India
Late 20th cent.
Ink and watercolor on paper
30" h. x 22" w. )

Price on Request
Product Status: 
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Tiger in the Grass - Pradyumna Kumar
SKU: 
PRK-0801

Pradyumna Kumar - Mithila, Bihar, India
c.2007
Ink on paper
(18" h. x 24" w. )

Sold
Product Status: 
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Pushpa Kumari
SKU: 
PUK-0801

Pushpa Kumari - Mithila, Bihar, India
c.2007
Ink on paper
(12 1/2" h. x 16" w. ) framed

Price on Request
Product Status: 
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