Friday, July 31, 2009

Japan uses Madhubani paintings in 2009 calendar

Pranava K Chaudhary, Times of India

PATNA: For the first time, the International Buddhist Brotherhood Association (IBBA) of Japan has brought out a 2009 colour calendar on Madhubani

paintings -- a collection of art of the first generation Madhubani artists. These paintings are the earliest and pure examples of this age-old tradition.

Paintings of first generation artists -- Sita Devi, Jagdamba Devi and Shanti Devi -- find a place in the calendar which would be distributed to all monasteries, museums and educational institutions in Japan. This calendar is aimed to document the rare works of first generation painters of Madhubani district, the place of origin.

"People in Japan are very familiar with the Madhubani art and it is renowned and appreciated the world over. It has always been our endeavour to make people aware of the rich art heritage of Bihar and for this, one of the mediums we have identified is by way of printing calendars, which is distributed to all our monasteries in Japan and museums and educational institutes," said IBBA secretary general Yataro Daikubara.

Talking to TOI, he said: "This time when we laid our hands upon the first generation artists of Madhubani paintings from the collection of legendary artist Upendra Maharathi, who incessantly worked for the revival of this art, we immediately decided to use it for the 2009 calendar, printed and published in Japan."

A Japanese team made several trips to Bihar to select the paintings of artists for this calendar. The cover design of the calendar is of `Lord Krishna playing flute' by Mahasundari Devi of Ranti village in Madhubani district. She is amongst the leading artists of the first generation of Madhubani artists, who still practice with traditional tools of drawing, like wooden stick, cotton and thread.

Another artist, the late Padmashri Sita Devi, whose painting on `the marriage of Lord Rama and Sita' is included in the calendar, is the foremost amongst the first generation of Madhubani artists, representing the pure form of Brahmin tradition of painting. She is known for the purity of her style and distinct colour combination.

Jagdamba Devi of Jitwarpur village, Madhubani district, has done her pioneering effort to popularise the folk art form of the painting. Today there is a street named after her at her village Jitwarpur. Later, followers of Madhubani art have copied Jagdamba Devi's style almost excessively, but none could match her brilliance. The red and orange is predominant in almost all her colours. Two of her paintings, `Lord Krishna and His consort Rukmini riding on peacock' and `Bride and bridegroom being carried on a palanquin by the pallbearers' also find place in the calendar.

Another leading artist of `Harijan' style of painting is Shanti Devi. Her two paintings, `A calf suckling the milk of the mother cow' and `The warrior Motiram riding a horse' has been widely appreciated. Shanti Devi, a resident of Lahariaganj in Madhubani district, has also won many national awards for her remarkable skill.

The calendar (text both in English and Japanese languages) is printed at Nikko Bijutsu Limited Shizuoka, Japan.

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