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Madhubani art is traditional folk art from Bihar in eastern India. Women mainly painted Madhubani art as men were busy working in the fields. With an extraordinary history in its art, women in the villages around Madhubani have been practicing their folk art for centuries.
The women painters lived in a closed society and were unwilling to paint openly. Eventually due to a drought (1966-68) that resulted in severe economic crisis, they began to commercialise their art.
Initially all vegetable dyes were used for the paintings but many artists now use acrylic colours. The main colours used are yellow (from turmeric), magenta or pink or orange (from flowers such as shoe flower), blue (from vegetable dye), and green (from leaves).
Proportionate figures are not considered as important as details and intricacy. The face is in profile while the rest of the body faces the front. The face has one very large eye with a bumpy sort of nose coming out of the forehead. The figure outlines are drawn as a double line with diagonal hatching between them.
The borders are highly decorated – either geometrically or with ornate floral patterns. Clothing also is highly decorated with geometrical, floral or even animal patterns. The drawings of animals are easily recognised, but again tend to be very stylized.
The subject matter is mainly from the epics of Ramayana & Mahabharata, life of gods and goddesses with nature as the background.
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