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Folk Painting from India

June 6, 2003 to July 30, 2003

Mithila Paintings by Pushpa Kumari, Mahasundari Devi, Mala Karn, Pradyumna Kumar and others from Madhubani, Bihar
Paintings and Scrolls by Montu Chitrakar from West Bengal
Antique Santhal Scrolls from West Bengal and Bihar

The current exhibition includes three types of traditional Indian folk painting - Mithila, jadupatua and patachitra. The best known of these are the Mithila (also called Madhubani) paintings from the Mithila region of Bihar state. 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 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 are still painted with natural plant and mineral-derived colors, using bamboo twigs in lieu of brush or pen.
Over the ensuing forty 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 styles. Among the best known early brahmin artists have been the late Ganga Devi, Baua Devi, Sita Devi, and Karpoori Devi. Today’s leading artists, working in the kayastha style, include 31 year old Pushpa Kumari and her grandmother, Mahasundari Devi, both represented in this show. Other painters in their family include Pradyumna Kumar and Pushpa’s younger sister Mala Karn. Works by several of these Mithila artists (Baua Devi, Sita Devi and Mahasundari Devi), along with Santhal jadupatua paintings and old Bengali scrolls, are included in the show Stories, Ceremonies and Souvenirs: Popular Paintings from Eastern India, currently on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The jadupatua scrolls are a very old tradition among the aboriginal Santhal people of Bihar and West Bengal. The Santhal people, one account tells us,”speak their own pre-Dravidian language of Santali, worship their own Santal bongas or spirits, regulate thei village life in a democratic manner and celebrate their own santal festivals with dancing and feasting.” The scrolls are painted by itinerant minstrel/healers known as jadupatuas, or “magic painters”. They earn their living by wandering from village to village showing scrolls and chanting the traditional tribal stories of creation, death and life in the underworld. The scrolls consist of twenty or more indivdual story panels arranged vertically, which are unrolled and rerolled as the story is sung. Older scrolls were paintied on fabric. Those shown here, dating from the last sixty years, are painted in natural paints on paper - generally a series of individual sheets sewn together.

The contemporary scrolls and paintings of Montu Chitrakar come from the distinct patachitra story-scroll tradition in the state of West Bengal. The patachitra scrolls may portray stories from the great Hindu epics, such as the Ramayana, and Sufi traditions which are also sung frame by frame. The scrolls by the young painter Montu Chitrakar venture even further into current affairs, history and other subjects outside of the traditional canon. His subjects include not only the Ramayana but the recent Gujarat earthquake and bloodly Hindu/Muslim religious riots, and incongruously even the story of the French Revolution. These scrolls are painted with vegetable dyes fixed with a vegetable gum on paper. The panels are sewn together and fabric from old saris is glued to the back to strengthen the scroll. The individual paintings by Montu Chitrakar come from the same tradition. Many depict single episodes from the story scrolls, while others,such as his iconic tiger paintings, stand on their own.

You can read reviews of the show in Philadelphia Weekly and Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof's Artblog.

Fruit Harvest
SKU: CHY-0501

Cheriyal, Telangana, India
c.2005
Water-based paint on fabric.
(5" h. x 7" w. ). 

$42

Rice Harvest
SKU: CHY-0503

Cheriyal, Telangana, India
c.2005
Water-based paint on fabric.
(5" h. x 7" w. ). 

$42

Checking the Mirror
SKU: CHY-0504

Cheriyal, Telangana, India
c.2005
Water-based paint on fabric.
(5" h. x 5" w. ). 

$36

Ploughing the Field
SKU: CHY-0502

Cheriyal, Telangana, India
c.2005
Water-based paint on fabric
(5" h. x 5" w. ). 

$36

Baiga Dancers
SKU: SHD-2006

Shagun Devi -  Madhya Pradesh State, India
2019/2020
Acrylic on paper
(8 1/4" h. x 11 3/4" w. )

Dancers during a Birhanniya festival.

$195

Woman Carrying Firewood
SKU: ANB-2001

Anil Bariya - Pitol, Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh State, India
c.2019
Acrylic on paper
(5 1/2" h. x 7 1/2" w. )

$75

The Life of Gautama Buddha
SKU: PRK-0305

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

 

$700

Product Status: 
Sold
Jadupatua Scroll #3 (20 panels)
SKU: Jadu-3

Artist Unknown - Bihar, India
Mid 20th cent.
Water-based vegetable dyes on paper
(17' 5" l. x approx 7 1/2" w. )

$475

Product Status: 
Sold
Mithila painting
SKU: MTP-1704

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

$450

Product Status: 
Sold
Mithila painting
SKU: MTP-1708

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

$450

Product Status: 
Sold
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

Product Status: 
Sold
Mother and Daughter Going to School
SKU: MHXD-1910

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Acrylic on paper (20 5/8" x 13 5/8" on 20" x 15" sheet).

$375

Product Status: 
Sold
Husband Reads the Newspaper While his Wife Massages his Feet
SKU: MHXD-1911

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Acrylic on paper (20 5/8" x 13 5/8" on 20" x 15" sheet).

$375

Product Status: 
Sold
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: 
Sold
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: 
Sold
Matasya Kanya (mermaid with lotus and fish)
SKU: MHXD-1902

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2018
Acrylic on paper (10 1/2" x 7 1/4" on 11 3/4" x 8 1/4" sheet).

$225

Product Status: 
Sold
Ganesh - Mithila painting
SKU: MIT18

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

$225

Product Status: 
Sold
Matasya with Fish
SKU: MHXD-1901

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Acrylic on paper (10" x 8" on 14" x 11" sheet).

$225

Product Status: 
Sold
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
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)

$210

Product Status: 
Sold
Red Deer and Tree
SKU: SHB-2001

Shanta Bhuriya - Pitol, Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh State, India
2019/2020
Acrylic on paper
(15" h. x 11" w. )

$195

Product Status: 
Sold
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: 
Sold
Bird Diving for Fish
SKU: PK-0302

Madhubani, Bihar, India
Late 20th cent.
Ink on paper
(15" h. x 11" w. )

 

$175

Product Status: 
Sold
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. )

$225 $168.75

Product Status: 
Sold
Kalighat Krishna and Gopi
SKU: GCH-0711

Gurupada Chitrakar - West Bengal, India
c.2007
Water-based paint on paper
(17 1/2" h. x 12 1/2" w. )

$160

Product Status: 
Sold
Kalighat Woman with Cat
SKU: GCH0713

Gurupada Chitrakar - West Bengal, India
c.2007
Water-based paint on paper
(17 1/2" h. x 12 1/2" w. )

$160

Product Status: 
Sold
Marine Life
SKU: WRL-2004

Warli people, Maharashtra, India.  c.2019
White clay and dung pigments painted on fabric.
(8 1/2” x 12 1/4” on 13” x  17 1/2” sheet)

$155

Product Status: 
Sold
The Work of Ants - Life in a Warli Village
SKU: WRL-2006

Warli people, Maharashtra, India. c. 2019.
White clay and dung pigment painted on fabric.
(11 3/4” x 8 1/4” on 16 1/4” x 14 1/4” sheet)

$155

Product Status: 
ON HOLD
Orange Tiger with Four Antelopes
SKU: GCH-0708

Gurupada Chitrakar - West Bengal, India
c.2007
Water-based paint on paper
(11" h. x 15" w. )

$150

Product Status: 
Sold
Tales of Lord Krishna and the Gopis
SKU: MontuScroll5

Paptachitra Story Scroll attributed to Montu Chitrakar - West Bengal, India
Late 20th cent.
Water-based paint on paper with fabric backing
(28" h. x 11" w. )

$145

Product Status: 
Sold
Big Tiger and Antelopes
SKU: GCH-0707

Gurupada Chitrakar - West Bengal, India
c.2007
Water-based paint on paper
(14" h. x 11" w. )

$125

Product Status: 
Sold
Green Deer
SKU: BHB-1601

Bhuri Bai - Pitol, Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh State, India
c.2015
Acrylic on paper
(10" h. x 7" w. )

$125

Product Status: 
Sold
Red Deer and Tree
SKU: BHB-1602

Bhuri Bai - Pitol, Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh State, India
c.2015
Acrylic on paper
(10" h. x 7" w. )

$125

Product Status: 
Sold
Orange Bird Feeding her Young
SKU: BHB-1603

Bhuri Bai - Pitol, Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh State, India
c.2015
Acrylic on paper
(10" h. x 7" w. )

$125

Product Status: 
Sold
Selfie - Two Mermaids
SKU: MHXD-1903

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Acrylic on paper (9" x 7" on 10" x 8" sheet).

$95

Product Status: 
Sold
Matasya and the Snake
SKU: MHXD-1908

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
Lady Getting Ready
SKU: MHXD-1907

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

$75

Product Status: 
Sold
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
Papier Maché Mask
SKU: imsk-4

Papier Maché Mask
Nageshwar Dhanalkota & Family, Cheriyal, India, c. 2007
Papier maché with mineral paints, shellac
(7" h. x 6 3/4" w. x 3 1/2" d.)

$42

Product Status: 
Sold
Papier Maché Mask
SKU: IMSK-3

Papier Maché Mask
Nageshwar Dhanalkota & Family, Cheriyal, India, c. 2007
Papier maché with mineral paints, shellac
(7 1/2" h. x 7" w. x 3 3/4" d.)

$42

Product Status: 
Sold
Papier Maché Mask
SKU: IMSK-7

Papier Maché Mask
Nageshwar Dhanalkota & Family, Cheriyal, India, c. 2007
Papier maché with mineral paints, shellac
(6 1/2" h. x 4 1/2" w. x 2 1/2" d.)

 

$24

Product Status: 
Sold
Papier Maché Mask
SKU: IMSK-6

Papier Maché Mask
Nageshwar Dhanalkota & Family, Cheriyal, India, c. 2007
Papier maché with mineral paints, shellac
(6 1/2" h. x 4 1/2" w. x 2 1/2" d.)

$24

Product Status: 
Sold
Papier Maché Tiger Mask 
SKU: IMSK-5

Papier Maché Tiger Mask 
Nageshwar Dhanalkota & Family, Cheriyal, India, c. 2007
Papier maché with mineral paints, shellac
(5" h. x 4 1/2" w. x 2 3/4" d.)

$24

Product Status: 
Sold
Bird Diving for Fish
SKU: PRK-0302

Pradyumna Kumar - Madhubani, Bihar, India
Late 20th cent.
Ink on paper
(15" h. x 11" w. )

Price on Request

Product Status: 
Sold
Woman Carrying Water - Mithila painting
SKU: PRK-0304

Pradyumna Kumar - Madhubani, Bihar, India
Late 20th cent.
Ink on paper
(11" h. x 7 1/2" w. )

Price on Request

Product Status: 
Sold
The Life of Gautama Buddha
SKU: PRK-0305

Pradyumna Kumar - Madhubani, Bihar, India
Late 20th cent.
Ink on paper
(30" h. x 22" w. )

Price on request

Product Status: 
Sold
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: 
Sold
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: 
Sold
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
Spirit of the Forest
SKU: PUK-0301

Pushpa Kumari - Madhubani, Bihar, India
Late 20th cent.
Ink on paper
(22" h. x 15" 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: 
ON HOLD
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