KAUAI, HAWAII, July 28, 2021 (Hinduism Today by Claire Burkert): In 1988, in a mud wattle home in southern Nepal, I photographed a painting of Lord Siva. The artist, an elderly woman named Sita Devi, had chosen to paint Siva in hopes that He would bless the marriage of her nephew and his new wife. The image covered most of one wall in a room that had been converted into a kohbar, a wedding chamber.

Mithila was once a kingdom extending over part of southeastern Nepal and India’s state of Bihar. For generations, Maithil women passed from mother to daughter the practice of wall painting, which was often carried out on the occasion of weddings. Perhaps singing devotional songs as they worked, they called upon the Hindu Gods to bless a newly married couple and secure the well-being of their families. The paintings conformed to a shared Maithil style, with figures outlined first with black and then colors filled in later. Faces were often depicted in profile with wide almond-shaped eyes. Frequently, bold geometric or floral patterns bordered windows and the doorway of the house. Lotus flowers, bamboo, turtles and fish, symbolizing fertility and generations to come, were essential elements of a design made in the wedding chamber.

For the complete article and some examples of Mithila women’s beautiful artwork see “source”.