- Alpana or alpona refers to colourful motifs, sacred art or painting done with hands and paint which is mainly a paste of rice and flour on auspicious occasions in Bengal.
- The word Alpana is derived from the Sanskrit alimpana, which means ‘to plaster’ or ‘to coat with’.
- Traditionally, it was drawn by the women of the house before sunset. It is also a folk art in Bengal.
Origin of Aripan:
- Aripan is a type of Mithila art that originated in the Mithila region of Bihar, particularly in the village of Madhubani. The origin of the art is shrouded in mystery.
- It is generally believed that it was created during the epic period when King Janak of Mithila ordered the marriage hall to be decorated for his daughter Sita’s marriage to Lord Rama.
- Some vivid descriptions of these wall and floor paintings are present in Tulsidas’s Ramcharitamanas.Mithila art is also known as Madhubani art.
- Originally this art was created only on freshly plastered mud walls and floors of huts. But now they are done on cloth, hand-made paper and canvas too.While creating the Aripan, brushes are not used but, nimble fingers are used to make these delicate designs.
Designs Used in Aripan:
1) Images of human beings, birds and animals.
2) Images of flower (lotus), leaves, trees and fruits.
3) Tantrik symbols, like yantras, bindu (dots), etc.
4) Forms of Gods and Goddesses.
5) Forms of objects like lamp, swastika, mountain, rivers, etc.
3) JHOTI OR CHITA (ORISSA)
- Jhoti or Chita is the traditional Oriya art on the floor and walls, very popular in the rural areas. Jhoti is quite different from rangoli.
- While rangolis are made using coloured powders, jhoti involves line art using the traditional white coloured, semi liquid paste of rice or pithau. The fingers are used as brushes in this art form.
- Intricate and beautiful floral designs, the lotus, elephants, symbols used in patta chitra find place in this form of free hand drawing. Small footmarks of goddess Lakshmi are a must in any jhoti.
The jhoti or chita are drawn not merely with the intention of decorating the house, but also to establish a relationship between the mystical and the material, thus are highly symbolic and meaningful. Throughout the year, the village women perform several rituals for the fulfilment of their desires. For each occasion a specific motif is drawn on the floor or on the wall. For instance, during Lakshmi puja a stack of paddy or rice sheaves is drawn on the walls structured like a pyramid. During Durga Puja, white dots superimposed with red are painted on the walls. This combination of red and white signifies the worship of Shiva and Shakti.
4) KOLAM (TAMIL NADU)
- Kolam is a form of drawing that is drawn by using rice flour, chalk, chalk powder or rock powder, often using naturally or synthetically colored powders, in Sri Lanka, the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and some parts of Goa, Maharashtra as well as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and a few other Asian countries.
- A Kolam is a geometrical line drawing composed of curved loops, drawn around a grid pattern of dots.
- In South India and Sri Lanka, it is widely practised by female Hindu family members in front of their houses.
- Kolams are regionally known by different names in India, Raangolee in Maharashtra, Aripan in Mithila, Hase and Raongoli in Kannada in Karnataka, Muggulu in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.More complex Kolams are drawn and colors are often added during holiday occasions and special events.
5) MUGGU (ANDHRA PRADESH)
- A muggu being created at an entrance to a home (Image source)Like in most parts of the country, every morning before sunrise, the women folk clean the entrance to a home and/or the courtyard with water, considered the universal purifier, and the muddy floor is swept well to prepare an even surface.Cow dung is then mixed with water and this slurry is expertly sprayed on the requisite area and spread evenly with a broom.
- This is done on a regular basis in rural areas, and on festive occasions in certain urban areas, where there is availability of sufficient cow dung, and space to draw the muggu. This procedure is performed as it is believed that cow dung has antiseptic properties and hence provides a literal threshold of protection for a home. The muggu is then drawn on this prepared surface.
- The dark colour of the cow dung slurry also provides a good contrast for the white powder of the muggu.
- Muggupindi is a mixture of calcium and /or chalk powder which is used for creating these exquisite and unique muggu patterns. It’s a slightly heavy powder that falls thickly across the wet earth and stays in form while being used.
- As the index finger and thumb clasp a tiny bit of it and start dropping it from half an inch above the wet floor, the white powder falls gently leaving a white trail behind. There is a knack of letting this powder flow smooth and even, as one draws lines and curves of the muggu designs.During festivals rice flour is used to create the muggu, instead of the muggupindi as it is considered as an offering to the ants, insects and sparrows that tend to feed on them.One characteristic of muggu is that it is drawn by commoners.
- On festive occasions it is drawn in every home. No formal training is required to acquire this art. The art of muggu creation is typically transferred from generation to generation and from friend to friend.
- Mandana is a type of Rangoli. It is kept through out the year on walls as it was initially used for decorating the mud houses.
- The material “Chuna” (chalk paste)is used to draw the mundana with cotton balls. When used on festivals it is made with combination of red mud (geroon) and chalk paste.
- It is made in two ways- First, both the colors are used as paints; second geroon is used as flat background and the design is made on top using chalk paste. The design is geometrical and traditionally symmetrical.
- Mandana also has few typical designs, which are replicated through, out the state. In urban houses there are variations found which also uses cut mirror work.