Mithila painting is a traditional mural artform from Madhubani district, Bihar. The artform is known to be a woman’s preserve, one that has roots in the wedding rituals of the Maithil community. Today, many artists from both genders create canvases filled with depictions of religious gods and symbols, socio-political issues as well as rural and natural life. Over the years, Mithila art and artists have acquired tremendous popularity among national as well as international audiences.

This painting created by Krishnanand Jha focuses on rural life. It showcases the different stages of farming in one canvas, progressing from right to left. In the beginning you see subjects plough the field with the help of cattle, in the next frame we see the field being watered and sown, and finally we see the harvest near which men rest and eat their lunch. On the extreme left, we see the only woman in the canvas walking out of a house carrying utensils to fill water. The work is done using tones of red and white. The rest of the canvas is given texture using brownish-black lines and dots. Krishnanand Jha shows tremendous skill in mixing patterns to create various separate elements in the canvas.

Krishnanand Jha (1938-2018) was one of the first male artists to pursue Mithila art as a profession. Born to a tantric priest, Krishnanand himself followed tantric rituals. This is why most of his work depicts gods and goddesses. Krishnanand’s paintings began getting attention in the 1980s as they were unlike any other Mithila works. Jha mastered the Kachni style creating exemplary lineworks and patterns using them. At the Ethnic Arts Foundation’s exhibition ‘Mithila Art: the New Generation’ in New Delhi, 2013, he was honored for his life’s work.

To read more on the artform, click here.

Krishnanand Jha
Ink on paper
H: 28.4 cm x W: 76.2 cm
Accession No.