Raja Salhesh in Painting and Sculpture

in Image Gallery
Published on: 21 September 2018

Sunil Kumar

Sunil Kumar is an independent cultural journalist, art researcher and art film maker based in Ghaziabad. Experiencing himself as a tool of mainstream media, where space for art writing and production of art shows is constantly shrinking, he never gave up his efforts to find options to showcase art and art matters. Having almost 14 years of journalistic experience in background, he is engaged with audio-visual and photo documentation of various tangible and intangible folk-art forms of Bihar, that also includes recording of archival interviews of living legends and oral histories of art traditions. He is recipient of Dinkar Puraskar (Bihar Kala Samman) 2017 for his writings on visual art.


The evolution of Mithila painting is associated with three communities in the Madhubani district of Bihar. These communities are Brahmins, Kayastha and the third one is Dalit or Paswans. Women of Dusadh caste (mostly in Jitwarpur village) and some other Dalit castes like Chamar are doing all forms of traditional paintings in Godna style. The chief deity of the Dusadh’s is Raja Sailesh or Salhesh and he is the key character of Godna painting or Salhesh painting. They used to paint family members of Salhesh, his consorts Dauna and Malin, tigers, guards and some imaginary characters like Hurar, decorated with trees, animals and minerals in sequences. They also make Salhesh sculptures and clay reliefs of animals and birds. These art forms are for ritual purposes and also for decoration.