KOLAMS of South India

daily drawings made at the front door of homes

Every morning in South India Hindu women draw a kolam on the ground with a coarse white rice powder. These kolams are believed to bring prosperity as these designs are offerings made to the Goddess Lakshmi. Throughout the day, the drawings are walked across, rained on, and blown away by the winds;  a new kolam is made the next day. 

Rice powder is used so as to invite birds, ants and other small creatures to eat the flour, thus inviting other beings into one's home and everyday life: a daily tribute to harmonious co-existence. The kolam is a sign of invitation to welcome all into the home whether it is intricate design or a quick sketch.  

The patterns range between geometric and mathematical line drawings - from a matrix of dots to free form art work and closed shapes. Folklore has evolved to a technicality wherein lines must be completed so as to symbolically prevent evil spirits from entering into the shapes, and thus are prevented from entering the inside of the home.