How to draw a sikku kôlam

Sikku kôlam

Kôlam made by a single continuous line or several lines running around dots are called sikku kôlam and exist to my knowledge only in Tamil-Nadu. They distinguish themselves from other kôlam by their entangled lines. Certain local beliefs see in these uninterrupted delineations an efficient charm against malevolent forces and evil eye. Temple sculptures formed by a unique or several never-ending lines which crisscross themselves develop sometimes into complex and recurring patterns.

The meeting points of the entwined lines are knots. During certain rituals in India, the sacrificial area is surrounded by one or several ropes to prevent the entry of evil influences. Actors and dancers wear almost permanently a talisman made of several threads tied at regular intervals to ward off evil eye. Knots display mixed messages, they represent constraints, complications or union of two beings, a social link or a cosmic link. The sikku kôlam directory includes nose ornaments, arm rings, crowns, thrones or ritual objects as rose water sprinkler, vases for melted butter and representation of oil lamps. We find also depictions of palanquins, temple chariot, cradles etc.

I have heard women say that drawing too many sikku kôlam leads to family conflicts and conversely women capable of mastering the intricacies of a sikku kôlam will be able to sort out difficult situations when they arise at home.

Coupe Aspersoir à fragrance

Cikku kôlam 1  Cikku kôlam 2

Cikku kôlam 3 Cikku kôlam 4

Illustrations from my book  « Voyage dans l’imaginaire Indien, Kôlam, dessins éphémères des femmes tamoules » Editions Geuthner. Upcoming release mid july. An English version is on the way.

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