This Madhubani painting is done in Godhna Style. Mahan Devi paints this work in the repetitive ‘tattoo’ style adopted by the early lower caste painters. In Tatoo, or Godhna painting body art motifs have been adapted into painting. Religious symbols, especially those with talismanic powers, geometric designs, nature motifs and fortuitous symbols like the swastika are popular.
Madhubani, which by one account means Forest of Honey, (‘Madhu’-honey, ‘Ban’-forest or woods) is a region in Mithila region of Nepal and the northern part (Madhubani district) of Bihar. 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 daughter’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.