Bihar handicrafts reflect a true blend of artistic beauty, rich tradition and innovation. In fact, crafts of Bihar are like the mirrors of their tradition and customary practices. The handicrafts of Bihar are appreciated and adored not only in India but all over the world because of their great aesthetic value and adherence to tradition. Women are dominating over the crafts in Bihar who popularize their own crop of legends, natural ambience, and traditional uses and introduce the visitors to classicism of Bihar.
Folk Arts in District of Bihar
Darbhanga is also known as cultural capital of Bihar. This district is known for its rich tradition of folk art form, Mithila painting. A number of fairs and melas are also organized in various parts of the district. The Kartik Purnima mela, Dussehra mela, Janmashtami mela and Divali mela are most popular among them. Mela for bride can be seen in “Sauratha Sabha” where marriages are settled. Two of the prominent and popular Artistic groups of this district are Mithila Chetna Parishad and Adarsh Kala Manch. Mithila Chetna Parishad is a professionally managed conglomerate of artistic activities of Mithila region. They also conduct stage shows all over India and abroad to spread the ethos of Maithili art and culture. Adarsh Kala Manch, Madanpur (in Bahadurpur Block) is run by a group of amateur artists and activists of the villages in this region. This group is immensely popular due to the depth and style of presentation of local Maithili Natak (based on religious and social themes). However off late, the scarcity of funds has forced this club to reduce its activities and limit it within the village during Festivals like Chhat and Chitragupt Puja.
Bangle making is another important part of Bihar handicrafts and the best works of it can be seen in the city of Muzaffarpur which is considered to be the center for cottage industries. Bangles are an important part of Indian customs and an integral part of makeup kit of Indian women. The basic raw material is for bangle works is obtained from the adjoining forests of the state. The artisans use light fire and their vivid imagination to breathe life into roundels of lozenge pink, flaming orange, brilliant vermilion, regal purple or even dignified ochre circles, to ornament the wrists of a bride. The artisans give them the most fashionable and contemporary designs according to the demand of the markets. One can buy them from many stores or directly from the homes of the artisans.
Using this craft exquisite object like delightful baskets and mats are hand-woven by women, which are popularly given to brides during marriage. One stops to admire and exult at the manner in which the wild Sikki Grass, a virtual riverside weed, has become a source of creativity for the Sikki womenfolk.
Madhubani paintings – native to the region of Mithilanchal – have spread the name of Bihar all over the world. Madhubani paintings got it name after the village where it originated. It is a creative folk painting done traditionally by the women, depicting special events and aspects of everyday life.. Images of Gods and Goddesses such as Durga, Radha and Krishna, Shiva and Parvati, natural subjects like Sun, Moon, Tulasi Plant, birds, animals and scened of wedding or other celebrations are the main themes of the painting. Earlier the paintings were drawn on mud plastered walls during important festivals and personal ceremonies. For commercial purposes, today they are made on handmade paper, canvas and different types of clothes for international and national exhibitions etc. Even after so many years the method of paintings has not changed a lot. A bamboo sticks wrapped around with cotton is used as the paint brush and colors used are all obtained from nature. The pigments are taken from spices, minerals, charcoal, vegetable matter, flowers and plants For example, powdered rice is used as white colour, red colour comes from red sandal wood or kusam flower juice, yellow from turmeric.
Bihar has rich legacy of handicrafts and stone craft .It is visible and alive from the ancient pillars of the Mauryan period. In its peak during the Mauryan period, stone and architecture works became the symbol of the dynasty. Today, the most important place for traditional stone works is Patharkatti in Gaya district, around the important sites of the Buddhist history. Apart from monasteries and Stupas, They make wonderful of Lord Buddha, Ganesha, other traditional icons, images and household articles like the pestle, the mortar kharal (medicine grinder). The stone images are carve with supreme mastery and are the crowning glories of Bihar handicrafts. Utensils and tableware made with black stone are also extremely popular for ritualistic and religious purposes in India.
One of Bihar’s ancient industries wood inlays continues to be done with different materials, metal, ivory and stag-horn. Using inlay work artists made decorative pieces like wall hangings, table tops, trays, and a number of utility articles. One can see beautiful pieces of trays, boxes and other articles for household use are produced using this craft. The designs are colourful and geometrical.
Sujini and Khatwa Embroidery
A traditional quilt sujini is made with layers of clothes mainly in the rural areas. Old clothes are used for the inner stuffing and cotton or colorful threads are used for the embroidery. The embroidery is done in running stitch in a scale pattern. The sujini depicts village and religious scenes such as bride in palanquin, peacocks dancing, boy flying kite, etc. Khatwa is the appliqué work of Bihar used to craft decorative tents, canopies, shamianas, etc. The appliqué designs for tents are Persian type trees, flowers, animals, birds, etc. For canopies the whole design with circular central motif is cut out of a single cloth.
There are however different types of small scale and cottage industries located in this district of Buxar, the details of which have been given below::
- Soap Industry: It is mainly concentrated in Buxar and Dumraon.
- Timber and Furniture works: It is located at Buxar and Dumraon.
- Leather Industry: There are individual leather workers all over the district. There is a concentration of them at Khilafatpur village in Buxar Sadar Sub-division who are engaged in shoe making. There is shoe making centre in the village which has also been receiving help from the industries department.