Bihar was the ancient centre of power, culture and possibly religion in ancient India. The state was home to the Iron Age power of the Maurya Empire and to Buddhism. Nalanda and Vikramshila were centres of learning established in the 5th and 8th century and are amongst the oldest international universities of the time.
Bihar has a rich artistic heritage. Indigenous artforms were heavily influenced by the Mughal Empire and the British Raj. Mithila is a style of painting, using rice pigments, that is native to the state and practised in Darbhanga and the Madhubani districts. Traditionally, painting is one of the skills that has been passed from one generation to the other in the Mithila region. Patna School of Painting or, alternatively, Patna Qalaam or Company Painting, is an obscure style of painting that flourished in Bihar in the 18th century until the middle of the 20th century. These paintings make use of watercolours on paper and mica.
Weaving is an important craft that has been extensively practised in the state. It is common to see items such as baskets and cups woven from bamboo strips or cane reeds adorning Bihari homes. The Biharsharif and Patna areas are well known for cotton dhurries with Buddhist symbols and motifs of flora and fauna forming the themes of the weaves. The metropolitan city of Bhagalpur earns its nickname, Silk City, from its sericulture - the production of silk from the rearing of silkworms - and the manufacture of tussar silk yarn to be used in weaving.
Today, Bihar is fast developing with the Indian government's establishment of the Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&SF). The establishment of the Cluster Development Initiative (IL&SF CDI), a part of IL&SF, perpetuates the traditional techniques of skilled Bihari artisans. IL&SF CDI further helps to develop the handicrafts industry and its heritage by implementing strategies that edifies the handicrafts industry, such as analysing gaps in the market and mobilising resources.
SELECT THE CRAFT BELOW AND DISCOVER ITS TECHNIQUES