GASB15 Jan 31, 2013
High art: art which deals with lofty and dignified subjects and is characterized by an
elevated style avoiding all meretricious display
Low art: a derogatory term for some forms of popular culture/art
Folk art: art done by a community/culture
Material arts don’t always have to be just for viewing pleasure – it can have practical
Named after a district in Bihar
o Also known as Mithila or Maithila
They are a traditional folk art – practiced solely by women
Its origin is unknown
o no evidence for any date as the knowledge of the art form (by the Western
world) only started in the 1930s.
However, at that time, the art seemed
to have a long history.
They are illustrations used to cover the
inside of a marriage chamber and painted
straight onto the walls
o Lines are made by split bamboo
sticks dipped in ink and the gaps are
coloured in by wads of cloth dipped in
o The starting point of the illustrations are a red dot painted in the center of
the eastern wall
o Usually designs of wealth, fertility, prosperity etc.
The outside of the marriage chamber is totally plain
The paintings were first discovered by W.G. Archer who was a district officer. He had
knowledge of contemporary art from being a student of Cambridge University.
An earthquake hit the community and the marriage chambers, usually hidden
away, were revealed.
Archer published an article on the art, which was the first time this type of art had
been seen by the outside world GASB15 Jan 31, 2013
Pupul Jayakar was the chair of the All India Handloom association. She read Archer’s
article and went to Madhubani to see the art for herself. She found the area in the
middle of a famine so less art was being produced.