Saturday, April 18th, 2009 | Author:

Since the earliest times, artists and craftsmen throughout India have applied their skills to the creation of pleasing and meaningful decorative motifs and symbols. They perfected techniques of sculpting, painting, dyeing and weaving to give a permanent expression to their favorite motifs.

Artists ornamented every element of their surroundings embellished every feature of their architecture and decorated their own bodies in a number of ways. This innate urge to decorate and beautify gave birth to a number of decorative motifs. Most of these motifs are ancient and have been used over the centuries by traditional artisans in almost their original form till the present day.

The symbols for the 5 elements of nature are as follows:

Earth: square

Water: Circle

Fire: Triangle

Air: half moon (Ardha Chandra) (Chandra Bindu)

Sky: of the shape of a droplet

The popularity of some of these motifs has remained fairly constant throughout the history of Indian art, while some other symbols have enjoyed a cyclic popularity. The range of the application of these symbols is indeed wide. All these motifs are straightforward expressions of the human spirit and man’s experience of nature and life. These symbols, the basic geometrical shapes of five elements (Panchabhuta) represent the macrocosm (universe) and also the microcosm (the body). These provided the basis of the most ancient motifs. Among these earlier patterns, a large number has undergone some major changes and transformations of shape. However, in whatever form these are used, they always evoke a decorative and a spiritual streak in you.

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