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Have a good time Tamil New 12 months with a kolam, a convention that has endured and advanced over centuries of tradition, throughout mediums like gold, pearl, rice and now, puzzle blocks

Have a good time Tamil New 12 months with a kolam , a convention that has endured and advanced over centuries of tradition, throughout mediums like gold, pearl, rice and now, puzzle blocks

“I keep in mind my grandmother telling me that when impartial India was introduced, ladies of Madras embellished whole roads in Triplicane and Mylapore with massive kolams to have fun,” says Chennai-based historian Meenakshi Devaraj. The academician pauses mid-conversation, mulling over the various socio-political, cultural and ritualistic roles performed by kolam over centuries.

The journey of kolam is an fascinating one, from a humble agrarian providing within the Sangam interval, to its function in ethnomathematical analysis and edu-games within the twenty first Century.

“This apply began as a bali [offering] once we have been an agrarian neighborhood. Our produce was primarily paddy, so folks would put an providing of paddy on the entrance of houses and business areas on a regular basis. After a while, this become choices of rice. That is talked about within the texts of Sangam literature, relationship again over 2,000 years. In my very own analysis, I discovered that this ritual slowly advanced into the format of kolams by the eighth or ninth Century,” Meenakshi says.

A kolam made brighter with flowers

A kolam made brighter with flowers

It was within the eighth Century, she says, that individuals actually began to get artistic with the kolam: “It took on different variations, apart from the patterns made out of rice flour. The behavior of creating kolams out of flowers started then, as did the panchavaranam: a five-coloured kolam in black, white, pink, yellow and inexperienced.”

For the powers that be of that period — equivalent to kings and rich retailers — big day kolams meant patterns drawn with powdered gold and pearl powder. “An precise reference is available in a literary work referred to as Seevagasinthamani, within the description of king Seevagan’s wedding ceremony ceremony. All this occurred within the eighth Century,” says Meenakshi. 

Members of the Kovai Valayapatti Nagarathar Magalir Sangam drawing a 40 feet long and 40 feet wide ‘kolam’ for the New Year in Coimbatore in 2013.

Members of the Kovai Valayapatti Nagarathar Magalir Sangam drawing a 40 toes lengthy and 40 toes large ‘kolam’ for the New 12 months in Coimbatore in 2013.
| Photograph Credit score: PERIASAMY M

Celebrating areas

From the frequent man’s perspective, she provides, “Other than mentioning kolams accomplished in entrance of homes and ritual locations, Tamil literary works additionally speak about kolams accomplished within the kitchen earlier than cooking, and in locations the place meals was served. This exhibits the respect that they had for these locations.”

At this time, the kolam has advanced, however there’s a lot that has nonetheless remained unchanged over centuries. As an illustration, the normal morning and night kolam ritual of Tamil Nadu — cleansing the ground, sprinkling water, typically including cow dung paste as a background, after which drawing a white sample utilizing rice flour — is described nearly precisely the identical within the ninth Century, in Alvar saint Andal’s assortment of verses Nachiar Thirumozhi.  

A child playing with Studio Maniam’s Krazy Kolam game.

A baby enjoying with Studio Maniam’s Krazy Kolam recreation.

Symmetry and mathematical interpretations concerned within the kolam have attracted the eye of researchers finding out the science of ethnomathematics. “This topic offers with the connection between arithmetic and cultural practices. I’ve had folks method me from a number of international locations, for his or her analysis,” she says.

The function of kolams right this moment lengthen past rituals and teachers. From environmental statements to politically charged kolams, it’s as a lot part of right this moment’s social fibre because it has ever been. The kolam can be used as a parenting and academic software, within the type of a tabletop recreation.  

A child playing with Studio Maniam’s Krazy Kolam game.

A baby enjoying with Studio Maniam’s Krazy Kolam recreation.

Coimbatore-based toy designer Kanaka Ananth’s video games like Rangolia and Krazy Kolam have been garnering consideration ever since their launch final 12 months. The latter, significantly, is hand made with wooden and will be performed like blocks or puzzles, with totally different small motifs and shapes that may be organized to type quite a lot of patterns. Initially designed for youngsters above the age of three, the sport surprisingly generated curiosity amongst homemakers and grandparents as nicely, each as a stress-buster and to beat boredom.

“The fantastic thing about it’s in how final 12 months, folks began utilizing our kolams for Navaratri golu and Deepavali decorations. Quickly after that, I used to be approached by some grandmothers to create a much bigger, extra complicated set that they might play. So we got here up with Krazy Kolam Plus in January this 12 months: it has 40 items and a booklet, to allow them to make extra complicated patterns,” says Kanaka, whose unique thought was to encourage artistic pondering amongst youngsters.

Now that grown-ups are having fun with it as nicely, she is blissful to see the custom having come full circle. Her aged clients, who embraced this shift from custom to innovation, appear simply as blissful.

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