Sirha, February 21: The progress and prosperity of art in the Mithila region have, of late, been remarkable. However, the specific art form called ‘Aripanchitra’ is on a verge of extinction in the lack of its promotion.
Aripan is a folk art drawn on the auspicious occasions and religious celebrations by Maithali women. It is mainly about floor drawings or line drawings on the ground.
The mixture made by grinding Arawa rice is called Aripan (pithar). Aripan is also an example of highly symbolic tantric painting developed by the women of Mithila region, said Sadhana Karna, who has been working in the Mithila art field for years.
Aripan is written by rice flower (Pithar). Karna said that ‘Aripanachitra’ written by Pithar is covered with vermilion everywhere.
‘Pithar’ is considered a symbol of masculinity and vermilion a symbol of nature. Aripanchitra plays a pivotal role in the Mithila region.
However, in lack of commercialisation of Mithila paintings made by the Maithil women, their art collections have not been able to reach the market. Former chairperson of Maithili Sahitya Parishad, Shubh Chandra Jha, said that women who could not read or write could be seen proficient in this art form.
Mithila painting is a powerful medium to depict social conditions as well as to express various dimensions of life, it is associated with human life, said Jha. The real form of Aripan can be observe during festivals like Diwali, Bhaitika, Holi, worship of gods and goddesses, wedding ceremonies and Haribodhani Ekadashi.
Aripanachitra of Mithila is also an example of symbolic Tantric art.
It reflects the serious impact of the development of worship methods as well as the entire cultural life of Mithila.
Tantra has a profound effect on the life of the Mithila people. Maithili people believe that Tantra is a system, and its practice makes it possible to explore the eternal relationship of the human body with the universe.
In the Hindu system of worship, Tantra is said to be lord Shiva-inspired.
Kailash Prasad Sah, expert of astrology, said that the Vedas are considered to be integrated with Hiranyagarbha or Brahma, similarly Tantra is said to be basically integrated with Shiva and Shakti.
‘Tantra Shastra’ includes Tantra, Mantra and Yantra. Aripanachitra is a way of doing work of a device under the Tantric system.
This art has paved the way for the latest modern art while preserving the historical tradition and folk life of Mithila. Mithila painting has been maintaining its unique existence in the international market lately.
However, the former president of Maithili Sahitya Parishad, Viveka Nanda Mishra, said that they have not been able to give professionalism to this art which is prevalent among the women of Nepali Mithila region.