The Madhubani paintings may soon be rated as one among the ‘Oral and Intangible Heritages of Humanity’ masterpieces if a proposal by the Culture Department is approved by the UNESCO.
The Department is planning to recommend this ‘ethnic style of painting’ for space in the coveted list under the category of ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage' in need of urgent safeguarding.
The UNESCO Convention resolution on intangible heritage was adopted in 2003. It aims to raise public awareness about the value of heritage, including popular and traditional oral forms, music and dance, traditional crafts as well as cultural spaces, rituals and mythologies as also knowledge and practices concerning the universe.
At present, the UNESCO list includes only three art forms, Koodiyattom, Vedic chanting and Ramlila from India.
“People, mostly women in almost every household in Mithila region make Madhubani paintings. There have been efforts to conserve and promote this traditional art form, but a more comprehensive plan needs to be initiated for the purpose. More public awareness about its cultural importance is needed. The recognition by the UNESCO may be of great help in this context,” Vivek K Singh, Culture Secretary, said.
The recommendation papers will carry visuals of Madhubani art and a brief text detailing its origin, development and the current status, he added.
Madhubani art is believed to have originated in the Ramayan age and has survived through the ages through a number of artists. Initially it was created only on the mudwalls of houses in the Mithila region, comprising mostly Darbhanga and Madhubani district villages.
“The region still has a number of artists who have gained popularity at the international level. But there is the need to popularise it among young generation. The art of Ramlila which has already been included in this list, has raised hopes for Madhubani art. We may also consider later the Chhath festival, typical of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.” he said.