In India, toys and dolls have a
history as old as the icons and idols themselves. From the realm of
divine inspiration today to day recreation, the craftsmen with their innate
skills transformed mundane objects as toys into expressions of art.
In fact, Andhra Pradesh has a number
of toy forms. Leather puppets, Kondapalli dolls, Tirupati dolls, Nirmal
toys and Etikoppaka dolls.
Leather dolls form the central part
of the shadow puppetry or Chaya Natak.
The best known of course being the Tholu Bommalatta of Andhra Pradesh.
The dolls are made of goat-skin which after being cured and dried, is made
translucent by a special process. The figures are beautifully painted
with vegetable dyes. With painstaking attention to detail and a
similarity in style and stylisation to Kalamkari paintings.
Kondapalli toys are absolutely
lightweight and come from Kondapalli, a little village near Vijayawada.
The style is warm and realistic with the faces of the toys being highly
expressive. The themes are centred around village and village life.
However, the process being highly flexible, the art form has found many
admirers in foreign countries.
The wood is first seasoned.
Every single unit is separately carved and joined to the body with an adhesive
paste of tamarind seeds, then coated with lime glue. Painting is done
with brushes made of goat's hair. You can see a wide range of
themes. From animals, occupations and daily life, besides mythological
Nirmal toys are yet another
interesting expression of the famous Nirmal work. Animals and bird forms