PANAJI: ‘Manjusha Art’ is a polpular folk art of ‘Ang Pradesh’, currently known as Bhagalpur in Bihar. ‘Manjusha Art’ is based on a folk story. The story of Bihula – Bishahari! The story of Bihula who saved her husband from the deity’s wrath and a snake-bite and also of Bishahari or Mansa, the snake goddess known for her anger when displeased, but also for her protectiveness when appeased.

Manjusha art is believed to be the only art-form in the history of India which has a sequential representation of the story and is displayed in a series pictorially. This is also called a scroll painting.

Earlier this story used to be sung in the oral tradition, Nowadays though the oral songs are not as popular, an effort is being made to revive them.


In Sanskrit, the word ‘Manjusha’ means box and manjushas are temple-shaped boxes, made up of bamboo, jute and paper insides; in which devotees keep paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses and other ceremonial materials.

These boxes are used in Bishahari puja, a festival dedicated to the Snake Goddesses. ‘Manjusha’ name is also associated with a elaborate story and with festival celebrated in Bhagalpur.


Manjusha is a folk-art and scroll painting with following essential aspects.

• Only three colours are used in Manjusha Art (Green, Yellow and Pink)
• Manjusha art is Line drawings and Borders are very Important.
• Manjusha Art is completely based on folklore of Bihula-Bishari.
• In Manjusha Art, the characters are displayed as X letter of English Alphabets.
• Major motifs of Manjusha Art – Snake, Champa Flower, Sun, Moon, Elephant, Turtle, Fish, Maina Bird, Kamal Flower, Kalash Pot, Arrow Bow, ShivLing, Tree etc.
• Major characters of Manjusha Art – Lord Shiva, Mansa Devi (Bishari), Bihula, Bala, Hanuman, Chandu Saudagar
• Borders in Manjusha Art – Belpatr, Lehariya, Triangle, Mokha and series of Snakes.


In Manjusha Art, the borders are very important, every painting must contain one or more borders in it. The different borders used in Manjusha art are as follows.

Belpatra – It is the symbol of holy leaves of Belpatra. In Hindu tradition, Lord Shiva is worshiped with Belptra.
Lehariya – It is the symbol of waves of river. Waves show ‘up and downs’ in life and how we overcome the difficulties. It embarks struggle and strength.
Mokha – Mokha shows the design and decoration used by ancient people of ‘Ang region’ in their houses.
Tribhuj – The triangle, a symbol of Lord Shiva in Hindu Religion. Point-up triangle indicates the spirituality and point-down triangle indicates physical presense. The symbol of triangle, can also connect with concept of time as – past, present and future.
Sarp ki Ladi – So many snake pattern connected to each other, it is a sign of unity.


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