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Indian Folk Art "Rangoli" Uses Colorful Flour and Rice in Stunning Designs

In India, there is a long-standing folk art known as rangoli (or kolam or Muggu), in which patterns are created on the floor using materials such as colored rice, dry flour, and more. The bright designs are usually made during auspicious events like Diwali, Onam, Pongal, and other Indian festivals. You'd also see them during wedding celebrations, and their presence is considered sacred welcoming areas for the Hindu deities.

Rangoli is meant as decoration and thought to bring good luck. The images are often geometric shapes, deity impressions, or of flowers and petals. Sometimes, designs are very elaborate and are painstakingly crafted with the help of many people. What results, however, are spectacular artworks that are awe-inspiring in detail and skill.

To craft this incredible tradition, artists use a base material of dry or wet granulated rice, or dry flour. It's colored using sindoor (vermilion), haldi (turmeric), or other natural pigments; the vibrant blues, purples, and teals are all chemically enhanced and considered a modern variation. Flower petals and sand are also used in rangoli designs, adding to the richness and diversity that's possible with this art.

via [ghost in the machine and design you trust]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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