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Kolam & Rangoli
Kolam & Rangoli

Riya Sen
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Kolam is a form of sandpainting that is drawn by South Indian women using rice powder in front of their home. Rangoli is also a similar art work. I want to know whether Kollam and Rangoli are same or different

Posted On : 4/9/2009 2:23:07 AM

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Maniam PS
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Kolam and Rangoli both are sandpaintings which are commonly used outside homes in India. Kolam is strictly a floor art where else Rangoli can also be wall art. Kolam is drawn using rice powder by female members of the family in front of their home. It is widely practised by Hindus in South India. A Kolam is a sort of painted prayer a line drawing composed of curved loops, drawn around a grid pattern of dots. Rangoli is drawn using finely ground white powder and colours. The term rangoli is derived from words rang colour and aavalli coloured creepers or row of colours . Kolams are thought to bestow prosperity to homes. Every morning in southern India, millions of women draw kolams on the ground with white rice powder. Through the day, the drawings get walked on, rained out, or blown around in the wind new ones are made the next day. Every morning before sunrise, the floor is cleaned with water, the universal purifier, and the muddy floor is swept well for an even surface. The kolams are generally drawn while the surface is still damp so that it is held better. Occasionally, cow-dung is also used to wax the floors. Cow dung has antiseptic properties and hence provides a literal threshold of protection for the home. It also provides contrast with the white powder. Decoration was not the sole purpose of a Kolam. In olden days, kolams used to be drawn in coarse rice flour, so that the ants don t have to work so hard for a meal. The rice powder is said to invite birds and other small critters to eat it, thus inviting other beings into one s home and everyday life: a daily tribute to harmonious co-existence. It is a sign of invitation to welcome all into the home, not the least of whom is Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of prosperity. The patterns range between geometric and mathematical line drawings around a matrix of dots to free form art work and closed shapes. Folklore has evolved to mandate that the lines must be completed so as to symbolically prevent evil spirits from entering the inside of the shapes, and thus are they prevented from entering the inside of the home. 3x3 dot all and only symmetry 9 Goddesses Swastika Kolam with a single cycle by Nagata S, each of which is corresponded to one of the nine Davi of the Hindu or the nine Muses in GreekIt used to be a matter of pride to be able to draw large complicated patterns without lifting the hand off the floor standing up in between. The month of Margazhi was eagerly awaited by young women, who would then showcase their skills by covering the entire width of the road with one big kolam. The ritual kolam patterns created for occasions such as weddings can stretch all the way down streets. Patterns are often passed on generation to generation, from mother to daughter The motifs in traditional Rangoli are usually taken from Nature - peacocks, swans, mango, flowers, creepers, etc. The colours traditionally were derived from natural dyes - from barks of trees, leaves, indigo, etc. However, today, synthetic dyes are used in a range of bright colours. The materials used for Rangoli take on either a flat appearance, when a uniform monolayer of powders are sprinkled or a 3-D effect when different sized grains like cereals, pulses etc are used either in their natural colouring or tinted with natural dyes are used. Some artists use the 3-D effect for borders alone while others create beautiful designs using grains and beads entirely. Coloured powder can be directly used for fancy decorations, but for detailed work, generally the material is a coarse grained powder base into which colors are mixed. The base is chosen to be coarse so that it can be gripped well and sprinkled with good control. The base can be sand, marble dust, saw dust, brick dust or other materials. The colors generally are very fine pigment podwers like gulal/aabir available for Holi or colors mentioned above specially sold for rangoli in South India. Various day to day colored powders like indigo used for cloth staining, spices like turmeric, chili, rawa, rice flour, flour of wheat etc are also variously used. Powder colors can be simply mixed into the base. If the base is light like saw dust, it can be used to make floating rangoli on the surface of stagnant water. Sometimes saw-dust or sand is soaked into waterbased color and dried to give various tints. However that probably cannot be used on water. If a rangoli is to be made on water, the color should preferably be insoluble in water. The designs are symbolic and common to the entire country, and can include geometrical patterns, with lines, dots, squares, circles, triangles the swastika, lotus, trident, fish, conch shell, footprints supposed to be of goddess Lakshmi , creepers, leaves, trees, flowers, animals and anthropomorphic figures. These motifs often are modified to fit in with the local images and rhythms. One important point is that the entire pattern must be an unbroken line, with no gaps to be left anywhere for evil spirits to enter.

Posted On : 4/11/2009 11:46:25 AM

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