Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Today in my India class, we learned about some forms of Indian art. This class was really interesting because we learned about Rangoli, which is a type of temporary art made with sand in India. Each morning, a woman from the household would go outside and create a design, usually a geometrical one off of a dot grid, in the front yard. They use a sand that is made of limestone powder. For general daily purposes, this art is made with white sand, but for festivals or marriages or other special occasions, many different colors may be used. Sometimes people decide to freehand their designs and create something more whimsical. Also, grains or flower petals are often used in place of or in addition to the sand.

Many of us were commenting about the American mentality that we need to keep all of our creations. We took pictures of what we had each done and made a lot of comments about it as we were doing it. Our teahcer, on the other hand, said that in India, people do not get attached to their designs because they know that at the first sign of wind or rain, their hard work will be washed away. The most similar thing I could come up with in American culture was sidewalk chalk, although I know plenty of children who cry when the rain washes away their masterpieces. I also found it interesting how Rangoli is often a group effort. One woman will be the main artist, but others will pitch in by filling in colors or helping create a certain area of the design. To Indians, rather than the exclusive goal being the enjoyment of the finished product, the process of making these Rangoli is designed to be enjoyed and calm people. It was a most enjoyable class. I hope to be able to do Rangoli again someday. Maybe I’ll have to go buy some sand…

1 comment:

sirhair said...

sounds like alot of fun!
I think the art form originated with buddhist monks (not sure though) but they do make some amazing work!
I've always wanted to try... I'm a bit jealous!