The Tree Of Life Beckons You

Folk paintings from the Mithila region of Bihar are coveted all over the world for their simplistic beauty and devotional themes. These are traditionally made by women to decorate the mud walls and ceilings of their dwellings, and have evolved to be made on mobile canvas, fabric, and handmade paper. Anything from a stone to a matchstick, and even one’s own fingers, could serve as a ‘paintbrush’, while the colours used are actually vegetable-derived pigments. The one you see on this page is a Madhubani painting on handmade paper. It has been curated to go into our latest folk art collection because of its unconventional theme.

This variety of paintings are made on spiritual themes. The subjects are usually from the diverse Hindu pantheon, replete with their respective long-established iconography and personal beauty. However, this one draws not from popular iconography but from a much lesser-known motif of the tree of life. This all-important tree in Indian Hindu and Buddhist tradition is said to have infused the Buddha with the ultimate truths of life and enlightenment as He sat underneath it steeped in meditation. Done in a simple tritone palette comprising of solid black, white, and orange that hints at a setting-sun background, the curves of the rising branches are eerily realistic. This one-of-a-kind painting is bound to fill your space with calm and serenity.

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