The millenary art of the Kolams

  • 2010

The Kolams are wonderful drawings made in South India (Tamil Nadu) by the Tamil culture. They are made every morning at the entrance of the houses. They are sacred and a home cannot be without its Kolam in front of the door (in India, it would be like a front without tilak).

They are actually made all over India, where they bear other names, for example they are called

Alpana in Bengal and Assam

Rangoli in Gujarat and Maharashtra

Chowkpurna in Uttar Pradesh

Hase in Karnataka

And Muggulu in Abdrapradesh.

They are a combination of mandala, labyrinths, Sacred Geometry and Sacred Symbols. Drawn by women, they become quite complicated and elaborate. They require great skill, coordination and concentration.

The drawing is made with a white powder composed of lime and powdered rice. So feed the parajitos, while preventing entry to the ants because they do not like the smell of lime. The designs are millenary and vary according to locality, festivity and rituals.

Making a Kolam is like weaving a net, it can capture an emotion, a feeling, and protect.

How is it done?

A series of points form the plot, and then, the woman who performs it must follow the pattern without stopping, accompanying it with a dance movement with her body, with a perfect harmony of her two hemispheres, an extraordinary eye-hand coordination and an admirable concentration since a good part of the Kolam is made of a single stroke that continues without stopping.

It is very important, explains Meenakshi, Director of the Tamil Ilaignarkal Educational Center in Auroville, that the line drawn is continuous on the ground, that the design is not broken. The meaning of an enclosed drawing is that there is only room for good energy. This Transcendental Art is erased every day by the pedestrian crossings, and every morning (or sometimes during the same afternoon) it is elaborated again, a different one, again and again. The Kolam attracts new energies and good vibration for the family. ” (Meenakshi, 2009: 3).

We start!

For example, train with the following drawings:

Then make the numbers, to rehearse:

Then rehearse piece by piece with the following fisa

Then do the next Kolam to go training part by part. (When you can do everything without stopping and without making a mistake once, you send us an email !!!!!!).

Photos: Kolams of Arunachalla and Culapalayam

With the kids

Making Kolams with children is a wonderful activity where mathematical rigidity meets the magic of the symbol and the creative-aesthetic.

We thank Meenakshi and the Ilaignarkal Education Center for these magnificent drawings taken from the book Kolam - The Traditional Floor Drawing.

For more information write to the Ilaignarkal Center:


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(Taken from: - The e-magazine for the precursors of the new education)

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