Math in Art – kolams of South India

Math and art is always a fascinating topic in a math for liberal arts class. To broaden the students’ perspectives, one could include kolam designs. These are designs that women draw in front of their houses in southern India, especially in the state of Tamil Nadu. In northern India, a similar type of threshold design is called rangoli.

Kolams are made with dots and loops around the dots The classic kolams are done only in white rice powder. However, the colorful rangolis from North India have influenced many kolam designs as well. Click here for a lot of interesting material on kolams, including connections to computer algorithms and knot theory.

(Kolam Image Source – http://pudukkottai.org/archieve/pongal-2003/index.html)

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