Mahasundari Devi

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Mahasundari Devi
Mahasundari Devi working
Born(1922-04-15)15 April 1922
Died4 July 2013(2013-07-04) (aged 91) [1]
Ranti [2]
Known for Mithila Painting
Awards Padma Shri (2011)

Mahasundari Devi (15 April 1922 – 4 July 2013) was an Indian artist and Madhubani painter. [3] 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. [4]



As a child, Devi was "barely literate" but began painting and learning the Madhubani art form from her aunt. [2]

She married a school teacher, Krishna Kumar Das when she was 18. [5]

In 1961, Devi left the purdah (veil) system which was prevalent at the time and created her own niche as an artist. [6] She founded a cooperative society called Mithila Hastashilp Kalakar Audyogki Sahyog Samiti, which supported the growth and development of handicrafts and artists. [6] In addition to Mathila painting, Devi was known for her expertise in clay, paper mache, sujani, and Sikki. [2] According to her family, Devi created her last painting in 2011. [2] Devi died on 4 July 2013 in a private hospital with sources citing her age at 92. [2] She was cremated with full state honours the next day. [7]


She received her first felicitation in 1976 from the Bhartiya Nritya Kala for an illustration of the struggles of a Maithil girl. [8] She received the National Award from the president of India, Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, in 1982. [6] Devi was considered a “living legend” of the art of painting. [6] She was awarded the Tulsi Samman by the Government of Madhya Pradesh in 1995, and the Shilp Guru award in 2007. [5] She received the Padma Shri award from the government of India, in 2011, for her contributions to the field of art. [6] [9]

Personal life

Devi was a resident of Ranti village located in Madhubani, Bihar. [6] Her daughter-in-law, Bibha Das, is also Madhubani painter, as is her sister-in-law, Karpoori Devi. [10] [11] She had two daughters and three sons. [10]

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  3. "Bihar's Madhubani artists get poor returns". Hindustan Times. Hindustan Times (New Delhi). 11 October 2007.
  4. "Padma Awards Announced" (Press release). Ministry of Home Affairs. 25 January 2011. Archived from the original on 8 February 2014.
  5. 1 2 "Straight from the art". Deccan Herald. 4 August 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Prakash, Manisha (29 May 2007). "India: Ladies' Fingers and a Flavour of Art". Hindustan Times. Women's Feature Service.
  7. "Madhubani painting guru cremated with state honours". Hindustan Times. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  8. "IN PHOTOS: How Madhubani Art Is Undergoing A Transformation - By Women Artists in Bihar!". The Better India. 1 December 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  9. "List of Padma Awardees for 2011". Mint. New Delhi. 26 January 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  10. 1 2 "Madhubani painting artist Mahasundari Devi dead". Business Standard. 4 July 2013. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  11. Jain, Somya (18 March 2018). "6 Madhubani Women Artists Who Pushed Out Dominant Narratives". Feminism In India. Retrieved 7 March 2021.