Fascinating sight: In alpana, finger is the brush and rice powder the paint.
INDIA---The traditional Bengal art of alpana, invoking Gods with finger-painted motifs, is now all but lost. Handed down through generations of women, this Bengal folk art, where the finger is the brush and a paste comprising mainly rice powder is the paint, once adorned the walls and floors of houses. The motifs are ritualistic images from mythology and scriptures. Alpana is intrinsically linked with religious austerity (called brotos or vrat) practised by women of mostly rural West Bengal for the well-being of the family. Urban women until recently also observed such pujas, whose ‘closure’ would always be marked by a special puja and alpana drawing with special motifs. [link]