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:
Woman Plucking Flowers
SKU: MHXD-2110

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2018
Acrylic on paper (10 1/2” x 7 1/8” on 11 5/8” x 8 1/4” sheet)

$225

Fisherman Casting his Net
SKU: MHXD-2111

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

$225

Waiting for the Pandemic to End
SKU: MHXD-2113

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

$225

The Vegetable Seller
SKU: MHXD-2114

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

$225

Mermaid Holding Lotus Flowers
SKU: MHXD-2115

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2020
Acrylic on paper (10 1/2” x 7 1/8” on 11 5/8” x 8 1/4” sheet)

$225

Woman Knitting
SKU: MHXD-2116

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

$225

Husband Reading While Wife Massages his Feet
SKU: MHXD-2109

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

$225

Naag-Kanya Selfie
SKU: SHLK-2205

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2021
Ink and acrylic on paper
13 3/4" x 10 1/2” sheet (35 x 27cm)

$210

Scrolling
SKU: SHLK-2203

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2021
Ink and acrylic on paper
13 3/4" x 10 1/2” sheet (35 x 27cm)

$210

'Naag-kanya' serpent goddess
SKU: SHLK-2204

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2021
Ink and acrylic on paper
13 3/4" x 10 1/2” sheet (35 x 27cm)

$210

Fisherman
SKU: SHLK-2206

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2021
Ink and acrylic on paper
11 3/4" x 8 1/4” sheet (30 x 21cm)

$150

A Brahmin Man Walking Home with Vegetables
SKU: MHXD-2101

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

$85

Fisherman
SKU: MHXD-1905

Madhubani, Bihar, India
c.2019
Acrylic on paper (7 1/2" x 5 1/2" sheet).

$75

Hanuman - Mithila painting
SKU: MTP-1701

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

$475

Product Status: 
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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

Product Status: 
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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-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

Product Status: 
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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

Product Status: 
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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

Product Status: 
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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

Product Status: 
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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

Product Status: 
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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

Product Status: 
Sold
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

Product Status: 
Sold
Matsya Talking to the Fish
SKU: MHXD-2112

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2020
Acrylic on paper (10 1/2” x 7 1/8” on 11 5/8” x 8 1/4” sheet)

$225

Product Status: 
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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

Product Status: 
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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

Product Status: 
Sold
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

Product Status: 
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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

Product Status: 
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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

Product Status: 
Sold
Matsya and Four Lotuses
SKU: MHXD-1909

Madhubani, Bihar, India
c.2019
Acrylic on paper (6 3/8" x 4 3/8" on 7 1/2" x 5 1/2" sheet).

$75

Product Status: 
Sold
Sun God
SKU: MHXD-2103

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

$75

Product Status: 
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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

Product Status: 
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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: 
Sold
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: 
Sold
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: 
Sold
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: 
Sold
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: 
Sold