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Feeding a Thousand Souls – Women, Ritual, and Ecology in India- An Exploration of the Kolam - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Feeding a Thousand Souls: Women, Ritual, and Ecology in India- An Exploration of the Kolam

Vijaya Nagarajan


Drawing on extensive fieldwork, this book investigates aesthetic, symbolic, metaphorical, literary, mathematical, and philosophical meanings of the kōlam, the popular Tamil women’s daily ephemeral practice, a ritual art tradition performed with rice flour on the thresholds of houses in southern India. They range from concepts such as auspiciousness, inauspiciousness, ritual purity, and ritual pollution. Several divinities, too, play a significant role: Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, good luck, well-being, and a quickening energy; Mūdevi, the goddess of poverty, bad luck, illness, and laziness ... More

Keywords: kōlam, Hindu women, India, ritual, threshold drawings, bindi, Antal, folk art, women and mathematics, Chandralekha

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780195170825
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780195170825.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Vijaya Nagarajan, author
Associate Professor, University of San Francisco