May 20, 2021-- Each dawn, millions of Tamil women create intricate, geometric, ritual-art designs called 'kolams,' at the thresholds of their homes, as a tribute to Mother Earth and an offering to Goddess Lakshmi. A Tamil word that means beauty, form, play, disguise or ritual design-- a kolam is anchored in the Hindu belief that householders have a karmic obligation to "feed a thousand souls." By creating the kolam with rice flour, a woman provides food for birds, rodents, ants and other tiny life forms -- greeting each day with 'a ritual of generosity', that blesses both the household, and the greater community. Kolams are a deliberately transient form of art. They are created anew each dawn with a combination of reverence, mathematical precision, artistic skill and spontaneity. Read on for one kolam practitioner's deeply personal exploration of this multidimensional practice. (4561 reads)
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