The Kohbar Ghar or the nuptial chamber is the room in which the painting has traditionally been done in the Maithil culture to bless a newlywed couple. The central theme of these Kohbar paintings is love and prosperity.Â Originally the paintings depicted an assembly of symbolic images of the lotus plant, the bamboo grove, fishes, birds and snakes in union. These images represented fertility and proliferation of life. There used to be a tradition that the newly married bride and groom would spend three nights in the kohbar ghar without cohabiting. On the fourth night they would consummate the marriage surrounded with the colourful painting.
Elements of Kohbar painting - The "Kohbar" painting is filled with rich detail, each contributing significance to the meaning of the whole. The dominant theme is pond life, filled with lifeforms and abundant in its productive powers. The painting seeks to insure fertility of the bride and groom who, as when a seed is dropped into a pond, should produce offspring abundantly.
The most prominent image looming largest on the canvas is the ring of lotus, called â€˜purainâ€™. The lotus leaves circle is a symbol of the female sex.
This painting of the kohbara ghar is in the interest of the bride and groom. The painting is meant to assure a romantic bond between husband and wife, which will lead to his permanent affection for her and to their productivity. The painting depicts Gauri Puja, where the bride leads in worship of elephant who has brought her this husband.
Bamboo is an invariable part of kohbar, frequently as stylized as this one. Bamboo is a visual play on a verbal pun; the words for "lineage" and for "bamboo" are almost identical (bans and baans). The women artists iconize the husband's patrilineage as a stand of bamboo. The future of the groom's patrilineage is assured with the arrival of a bride of good family.
Surya- the Sun, and Chandra- the moon, Shiva are among the gods who watch and witness the marriage of bride and groom. The nine planets are also usually depicted.Â So through the painting, blessings are for a successful marital life as that of the above deities.
Madhubani, which by one account means Forest of Honey, (â€˜Madhuâ€™-honey, â€˜Banâ€™-forest or woods) is a region in Mithila region of Nepal and the northern part (Madhubani district)Â of Bihar.Â The Madhubani paintings is an ancient style of painting that originates 2500 years ago. Legend has it that The King of Mithila ( a region now in modern Nepal and with its capital Janakpur) had first commissioned rural artists to paint the palace walls. The occasion was his daughterâ€™s wedding. The name of his daughter was Sita and the bride groom was Lord Rama.
Following the age old methods of painting, artist, till date, mixes cow-dung and rock-salt glue to the paints. While cow dung is used for the shine it imparts to the colored patches, glue helps the paint to bind well with the special handmade paper used for these paintings.
Painting by Krishna Kumar Jha is made on cloth with natural colors using pen nibs and brushes.