| ||In the State of Rajasthan in India, the walls and courtyards of houses are often covered in decorative motifs, generally drawn with limestone or other minerals. This nearly-5,000-year-old pictorial tradition is more specifically rooted in rural communities. Two types of drawings are found: mandana (ground paintings) are geometric figures and thapa (mural paintings) are representations of people, flowers, and animals. The drawings are made by women, working with a used cloth dipped in the required coating and wrapped around their hands or fingers. For each holiday new drawings are made on walls and floors, which have been given a fresh coating of a mixture of mud and cow manure. They personalize each home and, apart from their aesthetic qualities, have an important social function: they bear witness to the prosperity of a home’s inhabitants and are said to bring happiness. Only families in mourning abstain from decorating their houses in this manner, waiting an entire year after their loss.
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