Madhubani Painting for UPSC

Art and culture is an important topic in UPSC Civil Services IAS Exam. The topics of art and culture topic have a connection between the Ancient and Medieval India. UPSC has asked a considerable amount of questions from art and culture and history for UPSC Civil Services IAS Prelims Exam. Here we are discussing the Madhubani Painting.

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Madhubani painting has its origins in Maithili village of Bihar. In the beginning, the women of the village drew these paintings on the walls of their dwelling, as a demonstration of their feelings, hopes, and ideas.

Later these paintings started becoming a part of festivities and special occasions. Gradually, the Madhubani painting traversed the traditional boundaries and reached professional artists both in India and abroad.

Base and style

Although initially, mud walls were the canvases for these paintings, now, cloth is used, apart from handmade paper. The themes are not diverse since the original paintings were restricted to a particular geography. The paintings also use 3D images.


The colors are derived mostly from plants.

Themes of Madhubani Paintings

The themes of these paintings are chiefly nature and mythological events.  It revolves around Hindu deities like Krishna, Shiva, Lakshmi, Durga, Rama, and Saraswati.

The nature-related themes revolve around the Sun, the Moon, and sacred plants such as basil. There are some paintings with themes based on court scenes and social events.

If any unfilled space is left after painting the central theme, it is filled up with the motifs of animals, birds, flowers or geometric patterns.

Making Madhubani Paintings

Madhubani paintings use brushes created out of cotton, draped over a bamboo stick. There is no shading in the application of colors. A double line is drawn for outlines and the gap is filled with either cross or straight miniature lines.

  • Black color is made by mixing soot to cow dung
  • Yellow color from combining turmeric with the milk of banyan leaves
  • Blue color from indigo
  • Red colour from red sandalwood or the juice of Kusam flower
  • Green color from the wood apple tree leaves
  • White colour is obtained from rice powder
  • Orange color from palasha flowers

Read, How to tackle art and culture for UPSC IAS Prelims Exam.

Frequently Asked Questions on Madhubani Painting

Q 1. Which Indian state is famous for Madhubani Painting?

Ans. Bihar is known for Madhubani Paintings. It has its origins in the Maithili village of Bihar. It is characterized by line drawings filled in by bright colours and contrasts or patterns.

Q 2. What is the theme for Madhubani Painting?

Ans. The themes & designs widely painted are of Hindu deities such as Krishna, Rama, Siva, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Sun and Moon, Tulasi plant, court scenes, wedding scenes, social happenings etc. Floral, animal and bird motifs, geometrical designs are used to fill up all the gaps.

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