Mithila was the ancient country. It has been more frequently used for somewhat fluid cultural region than for a definite political or geographical unit. The land of it comprised the present districts of north Bihar, India and southeast of Nepal. The people living in this part are called Maithil, which was one of the names of Sita, princess of Mithila. It is supposed that Janakpur, a historical city in the southeast of Nepal was the capital of the ancient Mithila, the kingdom that was first to make contact with oriental cultures and consequently strengthened its own. At present Janakpur is the center of Maithili culture.
Mithila is the region of Maithili speaking people where ancient ritual practices have survived unhindered for centuries. Several traditions of women’s floor- and wall- art were associated with these ritual practices, and continue till recently in their orthodox form. W.G. Archer named a communal activity rooted in tradition the art of art in Mithila, as Mithila Art. Mithila art is inseparable aspect of Maithili culture. It is a part of family ceremonies, village festivals and religious celebrations. Maithili women whether literate or illiterate, the upper caste or lower caste make this art on these occasions. As more sophisticated art is practiced by upper caste (Brahman and Kayastha), the schedule caste or backward people draw very simple arts of animals like horses and elephants and different plants which are not complicated and complex but very innovative and unique in their designs and motifs.
The origin of this style of painting is related to the famous ‘Sita Kalyan’. It’s said that King Janaka, father of Sita, arranged quite a number of artists to create paintings of the marriage. According to history, this is when Madhubani style of painting was born.
Hindu mythologies and deities has always been a prolific presence in Mithila paintings and it still is. These paintings are mostly about Hindu deities like Krishna, Ram, Shiva, Lakshmi, Durga etc. At times, events like weddings have also made it to the canvas of Mithila paintings. Whatever space is left on the surface is never left alone and the space is filled with some simple paintings of flowers or even geometric designs.
Buying a Mithila Art can be sometime overwhelming since there are many different types and looks for this Art. Some Artists use only brush on the art, some use only pens and some use both. Artists also apply different color palates and patterns in designing this art now. Once a buyer decides which type of Mithila art he or she wants to purchase, the next choice involves which rooms to decorate in a folk art tradition and how. The good news is that Mithila art is literally displayed in every artistic medium one can imagine. This includes both decorative as well as utilitarian pieces. Therefore, it is easy to use Mithila art throughout the house for any and all decorating needs.
For many Mithila art buyers, discovering which piece is right for which room throughout the house can only be determined once the shopping process commences. Like buying other folk art, Mithila art is made by individually rather than mass produced. That means that what is available one week or month may not be there the next.
For that reason, it is important for buyers to know where to purchase Mithila art and get the best variety and prices. Traditional buying sources such as specialty retailers and art dealers will carry select works. As well, buyers may want to consider going to craft fairs where artisans may offer contemporary versions of pieces in any of the traditions listed above. However, these methods of buying Mithila art can be time consuming and offer no guarantee of success.
Educated buyers who use online purchase, on the other hand, can gain the benefit of some of the best Mithila art from all Mithila traditions, all in one easy-to-use space. However when buying these pieces online, quality and authenticity are key. Buyers must make sure to review a seller’s detailed ratings and history on different websites and reviews as a means to assess their legitimacy in claiming authentic pieces. Buyers may also want to consider contacting the seller directly to ask questions.