A painting of Radha and Krishna in the distinctive Kangra style
A lady with a rangoli design she has created for the festival of Diwali.
Rangolis, also called kolams, are lace-like patterns found on Hindu thresholds
in Southern India. Women and girls paint them each morning before dawn,
usually from rice flour. Rangoli patterns are thought to ward off inauspiciousness
and invoke good fortune, and are therefore associated with the Goddess Lakshmi.
On major festival days, large designs are constructed using coloured powders.
An artisan carves a deity. Each murti must be carved according to dimensions specified in scripture.
Figurines decorating a temple tower in South India
Hinduism is a richly visual tradition, illustrated by its paintings, sculpture,
and distinctive rangoli patterns. There are many schools of classical art,
such as Rajastani, Moghul, Kangra, Pahari, and Kalighat. The subjects are
usually of a religious nature, featuring pastimes of various deities. Puja,
the worship of the temple image, in itself is a unique and complex art form
(see The Shrine).
One of the most enduring achievements of Indian civilisation is undoubtedly
its architecture, whose roots derive from the Shilpa Shastra, one of the six
Vedangas (see The Four Vedas). Many large
temples date back to the period 1000–1300 CE, when architecture flourished
throughout India. The Moghul Emperors (1526–1857) added their own distinctive
style, spending lavishly on forts, mosques and palaces. For Hindus, the carving
of sacred images and figurines was an art form in itself, requiring years
of disciplined training. In the UK, the intricacies of Hindu sculpture and
architecture are visible in many new purpose-built mandirs, which are replacing
the old converted buildings.