Manjusha Kala of Bihar

Manjusha Kala of Bihar

Have you ever heard of folklore turning into an art form? If not, then let me introduce you to one. Coming from the land of Anga Pradesh Manjusha Art’ is an age-old art of Bihar. Known for its folklore ‘Bihula-Bishari’ the story talks about how Bihula brought back her dead husband alive from the land of ‘swarglok’ (abode of Gods). In the earlier days, this art form was practiced in the state capital of Champa currently located in Bhagalpur, Bihar.


Manjusha- Kala of Bihar

All the characters in Manjusha paintings are drawn in a distinct manner. Human forms are depicted in the form of the letter ‘x’ with raised limbs. The characters are portrayed with big eyes and no ears. The hair is curly and usually adorned with flowers. It is compulsory for the picture to have a crest and a mustache for the male figure while two circles to denote the chest for the female figure. The neck of the male figure is shorter as compared to the female figure.

Like other paintings, the hair over here is not shown in black color but rather shown with different bright colors. Along with Pink, Yellow and Green colors some auxiliary colors are also used for this art. Black color is mainly used to denote the snake and its venom.  All these colors have a symbolic meaning to them, like the pink and yellow color signifies excitement and exuberance while the green is the symbol of gloom and growth. Previously natural colors were also used but nowadays all sorts of colors are used for this art.

The painting mainly shows Bihula in an open hair and Mansa standing in front of her with a nag in her both hands. There are also other figures that are shown alongside in the painting but Bihula and Mansa are the central charactersManjusha kala of Bihar- Patna diaries.

Over the year this art has seen some light and is now practiced outside of Bhagalpur as well but is still not as famous as Madhubani or Mithila painting. The main reason could be a cultural change and lack of awareness among the people but every possible help is being allotted from the side of the government and NABARD so that the canvas for this art can never go blank.