Updated: Jul 15
When language was not developed we, as humans, communicated through arts.
Mithila or Madhubani art began as a ritual wall painting in the Mithila region, usually done for weddings. It has traditionally been a woman's domain. This cultural legacy incorporates historical, aesthetic, cultural, and intellectual elements.
The ‘Kohbar' or ‘Puren', is one of the most prominent and iconic of these ritual paintings. These were initially painted in the ‘kohbar ghar,' or nuptial chamber, where the bride and husband exchange vows. This is the most colorfully decorated portion of the house, and it is where the newlywed couple spends their first four nights together. Love and prosperity are the main aspects of these Kohbar paintings.
Symbolic images such as the lotus plant, bamboo grove, fish, birds, and snakes, as well as Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, are shown in the paintings. The union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati was the most successful of all Gods and Goddesses, according to the Veda and Purana.
A long vertical structure pierces through the central ring of the lotus, and a face similar to that of the rings appears at the top end of this vertical figure. The stalk that roots the lotus leaves at the pond's bottom is represented by this object. The lotus blossom is a symbol of a woman's fertility, as well as a symbol of abundance, attributed to the abundance of lotus ponds in the area.
Other symbols of prosperity, such as fish, a symbol of fertility, the tortoise, a symbol of love, and snakes, a symbol of divinity, appear in the pond. They could be seen in and around Kohbar's composition, as well as in this artwork. The moon, sun, and other idols are typically portrayed nearby, and these are described as witnesses to the act of marriage.
The Kohbar painting is a representation of an artistic expression that combines realism with cultural tradition. The gender roles and significance of the artistically depicted visual components in Kohbar painting are mastered and passed down from generation to generation, capturing the thoughts and creativity of generations.
The Kohbar custom is an important component of marriage ceremonies in North India, and it is done by women who have mastered the craft via communal activity and cultural practices. The creative lexicon of these unique wall murals has been formed by centuries of ceremonies, and they represent artistic legacy, harmony, longevity, and cultural tradition.