Saturday, August 23, 2014

Experiment with Manjusha painting. (रग मंजूषा कला के)

Manjusha painting is the form that mirrors the myth and feelings of eastern Bihar(India). The Manjusha art is also associated with a religious festival of Ang Janpath- the Bihla Bishari worship and the folk tale related with it. That painting is fairly popular form of art, is an accepted fact. One only has to remind oneself of M.F. Husain and his recent paintings to understand what heights it can achieve. But the rural people of Bihar do not know Husain. The folk painting is the only language of colours and lines that they know.Manjusha painting is the form that mirrors the myth and feelings of eastern Bihar. It has a touch of tribal culture too. Manjusha art forms an integral part of the rich culture heritage og the Ang janapath ( old Bjagalpur Commissionary). This traditional art resembles Madhubani paintion of Mithila,
Zadopatian painting of Santhal pargana, Kolam of Tamil Nadu and Rangoli of Karnataka. Simplicity of form and use of minimum materials are its cornerstones.Like the Madhubani painting, the Manjusha art is also associated with a religious festival of Ang Janath- the Bihla Bishari worship and the folk tale related with it. The main festival is held after the onset of rains in August, at Champamagar, about five kilometres from Bhagalpur railway station. A two- day fair is also held on the occasion. A folk tale is that Chando, a soudagar of Angjanpath was opposed the

worship of Bishari, the Goddess of cobras and he therefore had to face her wrath. His son Bala lakender was bitten by a cobra on the night of his marriage with Bihla. Bihla took her husband away fron Champa for treatment in a newly built boat with a shape of Manjusha, to keep Bala lakender safe from further attacks of the snakes. The walls and canopy of the boat were painted by veteran artist of that time, Lahsan Malli.The beautifuly sketched figures represrnted the prayer to the Goddess. In the painting there were snakes, Bishari, elephant, peacock, sun and moon. The colours used wree pink, green and yellow only. It is said that, since that incident, the tradition of Manjusha paintings has continued to be practised by the Malkhar families of Champanagar.Though the original Manjusha ( boat) was made of metal. the Manjusha built today on the occasion of Bihla-Bishari Puja are made of paper, himp and a frame built of Santhi a light wood. The frame is given a shape of a temple and it rests on eight pillars that form a square shaped room with a door. Then the whole frame is covered with paper on which beautiful paintings depicting the story of Bihla- Bishari are made. The snake is sketched in different painted as symbols for depicting the sky.The folk songs related with Bihla - Bishari van easily be seen to have a ready expression in the Manjusha art paintings. Along with the symbolism and liveliness of the characters. Manjusha art is very rich in colour combination and the original shade of paper used.the Manjusha artist also gives equal attention to the decoration of the art piece with the very effective user of the Mihrabs and borders. These Mihrabs provide an identity to the Manjusha painting. Unfortunately today, the Manjusja art is on its decline. For some time this form of art was practised by a few Malkhar families of Champanagar, but they too seem to have lost interest in it.This unique traditional painting which formed an inseparable part of centuries of Ang culture is now facing threat for want of patrons and onslought of consumerism. There is an urgent need to establish production canters at different spots besides providing financial assistance to the artists. To save Manjusha, it must be made commercially viable.

First ,second and third paintings are traditional manjusha painting.
In tradional Manjusha paintings only three colours-pink,green& yellow used. All paintings are in water colour. Art by- Pritima Vats.

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