Sunday, January 8, 2012

Beautiful flowers

Here are two pictures taken at the Amber Fort in Jaipur. I must admit that I know so little about the historical and artistic significance of these architectural and decorative objects. Nevertheless, the fort still took my breath away, and I did gain some appreciation about the technologies, religious meanings, and details embedded in this cultural landscape. These flower arts are amazing.

The next picture shows a man re-painting the flower designs (sorry, I don’t know what they are called) on the wall near the entrance to Jantar Mantar (observatory) in Jaipur. I don’t know if they are accurately reproducing the ‘original’ colors and styles, but there is nothing wrong with modifying or altering them (i.e., staged authenticity) based on their needs (tourism, for example) in my opinion. They are still pretty.

Now here is a set of three pictures of ‘street flower arts’ (again I don’t know the proper name for them) that were ubiquitous in places we visited in Tamil Nadu (the photos were taken in Pondicherry and Mahabalipuram). It appears that they (seemingly always women) draw, using color chalks, these flower arts, usually in front of their own house. I don’t know the meanings behind these designs, but they seem all unique and are so beautiful. In my mind, the fact that these flower arts are so ephemeral and are drawn by living, ‘ordinary’ people as part of their everyday lives makes them even more beautiful and precious.

Three kinds of beautiful flowers, but my personal favorite is the last kind.

1 comment:

  1. These beautiful chalk drawings are a form of Tamil women's domestic art, called Kolums. Traditionally made from rice flour they were a way to to feed a thousand souls daily, as innumerable ants took their sustenance throughout the day. For more info on them you can hardly do better than my fiend Vijaya Nagarajan's Essay, “(In)corporating Threshold Art: Kolam Competitions, Patronage and Colgate,” from Dwight Hopkins, Religions/Globalizations: Theories and Cases (Duke Univ Pr, 2001) 161-186