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The Age-old Tradition of Maithili Paintings

Artistic activity among all tribal cultures is an integral part of life. It has a well defined function socially, evolving from their interaction with nature and interpretation of its mysteries. It usually serves as a channel of communication with non-human forces, spiritual or otherwise.

Maithili painting, known for their vibrant lines and striking colours, age “written” by the tribal women of northern Bihar as preparation for religious ceremonies and important festivities. They are also known as Madhubani paintings. Madhuban, forest of honey, is Mithila’s largest district and one of the main centres of this art form.

Mithila, or Videha in ancient times, lies in the northern Darbhanga district of Bihar. On the northern front this region is marked off from Nepal by the Himalayan foothills. In the south the rivers Ganga, Gandaki and Kosi have secured it from the great plains of central India.