Kondapalli Toys are highly regarded for their lightweight, brilliant colors, and traditional manufacturing processes. These toys display happy and lifelike expressions and have themes based on mythology, country life, and animals.
The art exhibits a significant Islamic influence, and the human figures’ pointed noses are evocative of Rajasthani art from the 17th century.
Introduction Of Kondapalli Toys
kondapalli toys are made in Kondapalli of Krishna district, a nearby Vijayawada in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The center of craft production is located at Kondapalli’s Bommala Colony, which translates to Toys Colony.
According to the Geographical Indications of Products (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, it was registered as a geographical indication handicraft from Andhra Pradesh. LIGHT (LANCO Institute of General Humanitarian Trust) and Kondapalli Wooden Toys Makers submitted this GI application.
During the Sankranti and Navratri celebrations, Bommala Koluvu toys were one of the kinds of toys that were put together in houses.
“Aryakshatriyas” are the people who make these toys. Legend has it that these artisans brought the ability to make toys with them when they relocated from Rajasthan to Kondapalli in the sixteenth century.
By taking part in toy-making activities, each and every Kondapalli citizen has carried on this 400-year-old tradition.
Kondapalli Toys History And Cultural Significance
When experienced Rajasthani woodworkers moved to the Kondapalli village, adjacent to the present-day Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, in the 16th century, the “Bommala Colony” was born.
Since then, the 400-year-old craft heritage has been passed down from one generation to the next, and the craftsmen now trace their ancestry to Muktharishi, a sage who was given artistic and crafty abilities by Lord Shiva.
These craftspeople are referred to as Aryakshatriyas, and the Brahmanda Purana is also supposed to have made reference to them.
In the past, the toys included mythology, country life, and animal themes. Over time, Kondapalli artifacts displayed a variety of cultural and socioeconomic influences, from recognizable Rajasthani aspects to subtle Islamic characteristics.
The handmade golu dolls, which are utilized for festive doll displays during Navratri and Dusshera festivals in South India, are among the most important cultural artifacts.
The decorative exhibition of dolls, also known as Kolu, Gombe Habba, Bommai Kolu, or Bommala Koluvu, is frequently thematic.
The dolls are typically arranged on an odd number of padis (steps) to depict scenarios from Hindu mythology, court life, everyday life, or weddings, all while being blessed by the goddesses Lakshmi, Parvati, and Saraswati, whose statues are generally at the center of the display.
Kondapalli Toy-Making Process
The soft Tella Poniki wood is obtained from the neighboring forests, split into pieces, and then allowed to age for 20–30 days in the sun.
The seasoned wood is cut into the correct sizes with an axe with the finished shape being achieved using a variety of hand tools. The item’s many components are cut out separately, and then each one is slowly heated on a heater to evaporate the moisture.
Traditionally, the components were joined using a locally manufactured adhesive called temma jiguru (acacia gum), a resin from tumma trees. Using a horn burnisher, a paste known locally as makku is applied to smooth off the edges and joints.
Sawdust and tamarind seed powder that has been finely processed are combined with water to make the paste.
The sculpture is smoothed, strengthened, and dried before being skillfully finished with a coat of lime mixed with temma jiguru. Finally, colors that are either oil and watercolors, vegetable dyes, or enamel paints are applied using delicate, thin paint brushes.
The Evolution Of The Craft, Current Difficulties, And The Future Of Kondapalli Toys
The methods, procedures, equipment, and materials needed to create Kondapalli toys and other items have mostly not changed over time, with the exception of the occasional reduction of a step or change in glue and colors utilized.
The craft currently faces difficulties on two fronts: the first is competition from mass-produced goods, and the second is the limited and diminishing availability of Poniki wood.
Making education economically viable and worthwhile for future generations, who are getting less and less willing to pursue it, is another significant task that lies ahead.
Despite the fact that these toys have become well-known throughout the world, unfair market access and a lack of reliable information for consumers to determine the authenticity of real, handcrafted
The art form that enjoyed the patronage of the rulers in ancient times is in decline as a result of low revenues, the lengthy production process for toys, the impact of Western art, and the lack of encouragement for new generations to pursue this art.
To preserve the craft of making toys, Lepakshi and Lanco Institute of General Humanitarian Trust took the initiative.