Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I have started my blog with alpona designs-- very unique of Bengalis, a community mainly residing in the Indian state of West Bengal and the neighbouring country, Bangladesh. The designs were originally drawn on the floor with rice flour mixed with water and soaked in a piece of cloth or cotton. The cotton, dipped in the liquid, was pressed between thumb and the ring finger, to draw the elaborate motifs inside and outside the houses or temples, during weddings and festivals, to appease the Gods and Goddesses. Now poster or acrylic colours are used to make the alponas sharp and long-lasting. Though floor decoration is popular all over India, some using flowers or dry rice powder or coloured powders, this design form used in Bengal is particularly eye-catching.  Fish, considered auspicious among Bengalis and served as one of the main dishes during weddings and some festive occasions, is the focus of attention in this design. Alponas, also drawn on the walls,  The alponas were traditionally drawn by womenfolk of the houses using simple motifs from daily lives like, flowers, conch shells, fish, birds, creepers, paddy fields, and footmarks of the deity. Artistes at Bishwa Bharati, an open university set up at Shantiniketan in West Bengal by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, draw ornate alponas during various festivals. 

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