Swasti Alpana, University of Delhi, India.
Madhubani folk art is a gender- specific Cultural heritage which embodies aspects like historical, aesthetic, cultural and conceptual. This paper seeks to explore Kohbar painting which is an integral feature of Madhubani painting, painted on the wall of the nuptial chamber or the kohabaraghar. The images depicted in the Kohbar painting can be viewed as manifestation of the artistic expression encompassing realism and cultural tradition. The gender roles and significance of the visual elements aesthetically represented in kohbar painting is mastered and handed down from one generation to another which captures the ideas and creativity of generations. The custom of kohbar is an essential part of marriage rituals, practiced in North India by the womenfolk who master this art through communal activity and cultural traditions. Centuries of rituals have shaped the artistic vocabulary of these unusual wall paintings that symbolizes artistic heritage, harmony, longevity and cultural tradition. The wall painting of the kohabaraghar is designed to promote peaceful co-existence, fertility and prosperity. An attempt has also been made in this paper to highlight the socio-cultural significance of this visual culture. Some of the religious subjects regularly represented in these paintings are Hindu gods and goddesses and less important nature deities, exemplified by the sun and the moon, whose auspicious presence is invoked to make the marriage successful. The kohbar painting is embedded with several meanings which is artistically expressed on the walls of nuptial chamber and can be viewed as an assemblage of analogies and symbols indicating cultural and artistic tradition.