Mithila paintings are the created by women from mid-east Nepal. For centuries this traditional art has been produced to decorate the walls and floors of homes using natural materials including vegetable dyes.
The style is playful and raw, and the colours are taken from nature. Subjects of Mithila paintings typically reflect the religions, traditions and routines of the people; animals, family and friends, cultural practices such as weddings and daily activities like fetching water. In a country rich with cultural and religious practices, subjects for Mithila paintings are abundant.
Strictly created by women only, Mithila paintings are practiced by all castes and communities in the region. The skills are handed down from mothers to daughters - from a young age little girls play with their mother’s brushes and paints. Most of these artists are illiterate so in creating Mithila paintings, they can express and communicate their aspirations, knowledge, energy and passion.
The production of Mithila paintings on paper is a relatively recent shift. In the last half of the 20th century, drought struck the region. To provide income for their families, entrepreneurial women from the area began to market their paintings. Today women in these farming communities continue to produce art to supplement the family income. [check farming]
A great (but somewhat academic) read on Mithila paintings can be found here: Mithila Painting: Past, Present and Future http://ignca.gov.in/kmsh0002.htm
To see A Little Good's fair trade Mithila paintings visit here.