Kondapalli toys at a house in Vijayawada
|Alternative names||Kondapalli Bommalu|
|Description||Toys crafted out of Softwood namely, Tella Poniki|
|Area||Kondapalli, Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh|
Kondapalli Toys are the toys made of wood in Kondapalli of Krishna district, a village nearby Vijayawada in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Bommala Colony translates to Toys Colony in Kondapalli is the place where the art of crafting takes place. It was registered as one of the geographical indication handicraft from Andhra Pradesh as per Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. These toys were one of the variety of toys assembled in the houses during the festivals of Sankranti and Navratri and is referred as Bommala Koluvu.
The art of crafting is a 400 year old tradition. The artisans who make the toys are referred as Aryakhastriyas (also known as Nakarshalu), who have their mention in the Brahmanda Purana. They are said to have migrated from Rajasthan in the 16th century to Kondappali and claims their origin to Muktharishi, a sage endowed with skills in arts and crafts by Lord Shiva.
The Kondapalli toys are made from soft wood known as Tella Poniki which are found in nearby Kondapalli Hills. The wood is first carved out and then the edges are smooth finished. The later step involves coloring with either oil and water-colours or vegetable dyes and enamel paints are applied based on the type of the toys. The artisans mainly work on producing figures of mythology, animals, birds, bullock carts, rural life etc., and the most notable one is Dasavataram, dancing dolls etc.
The art form which has got patronage from the rulers in ancient times is in decline due to lack of profits, time taking to produce toys, influence of western art and younger generations not encouraged towards this art. Lepakshi and Lanco Institute of General Humanitarian Trust took initiative to keep alive the art of crafting toys.
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