Mahasundari Devi
Mahasundari Devi working
Born(1922-04-15)15 April 1922
Died4 July 2013(2013-07-04) (aged 91)[1]
Known forMithila Painting
AwardsPadma 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 Mithila 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]


  1. ^ "Padma Shree Awardee Madhubani Painting artist Mahasundari Dev died at the age of 92". Jagran Josh. Archived from the original on 24 April 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Doyenne of Mithila painting Mahasundari Devi dies". The Times of India. 5 July 2013. Archived from the original on 24 March 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  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 22 February 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Straight from the art". Deccan Herald. 4 August 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d e f 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. ^ a b "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.