was a born artist. She used to draw designs like Kohbar or Baans, Sita Swayamvar or Radha Krishna on the mud walls of her house (at her in-laws’ place) on ceremonial occasions
She was awarded the Tulsi Samman by the Government of Madhya Pradesh in 1995, and in 2011 she received the Padma Shri award from the Government of India
Mahasundari Devi (15 April 1922 – 4 July 2013) was the artist. She was awarded the Tulsi Samman by the Government of Madhya Pradesh in 1995, and in 2011 she received the Padma Shri award from the Government of India. She married a school teacher, Krishna Kumar Das when she was 18. Mahasundari had studied till Class VII. But she was a born artist. She used to draw designs like Kohbar or Baans, Sita Swayamvar or Radha Krishna on the mud walls of her house (at her in-laws’ place) on ceremonial occasions. This drew the attention of a renowned art collector Bhaskar Kulkarni, who motivated her to create these designs on pieces of handmade paper to be exhibited in galleries across the country and abroad.
In 1961, Devi left the purdah system which was prevalent at the time and created her own niche as an artist.She founded a cooperative society called Mithila Hastashilp Kalakar Audyogki Sahyog Samiti, which supported the growth and development of handicrafts and artists. She received her first felicitation in 1976 from the Bhartiya Nritya Kala for an illustration of the struggles of a Maithil girl.She received the National Award from the president of India, Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, in 1982.Devi was considered a “living legend” of the art of painting. She was awarded the Tulsi Samman by the Government of Madhya Pradesh in 1995, and the Shilp Guru award in 2007. She received the Padma Shri award from the government of India, in 2011, for her contributions to the field of art. Mahasundari Devi also painted at Madhubani railway station and Jayanti Janata Express. Apart from these, he made more than fifty paintings on Sanmaika for Patna’s Hotel Pataliputra Ashoka. He had made a series of Mithila paintings for the Rajya Sabha complex which were about 66 feet long.
Mahasundari Devi had mastered many arts, including Sujani and Sikki. Sujani’s famous artist Late Karpoori Devi had learned the art of Sujani from Mahasundari Devi, for which she was later awarded the National Merit Award. It was against this backdrop that Mahasundari imparted the basic skills of Madhubani painting to all three of her daughters-in-law – Vibha Das, Abha Das and Runa Das. Vibha is a recipient of national award for her exemplary art work.Traditionally, painting was one of the skills that was passed down from generation to generation in the families of the Mithila region, mainly by women. The painting was usually done on walls during festivals, religious events, and other milestones of the life-cycle such as birth, Upanayanam (Sacred thread ceremony), and marriage.