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Kondapalli Toys, the art of wooden handicraft on ‘decline’

  • Category
    Art and culture
  • Published
    19th Aug, 2022

Context

Kondapalli in Andhra Pradesh is famous for toy-making, and many families eke out their livelihood with this 400-year-old art.

About

Kondapalli Toys

  • Kondapalli toys take their name from the suburban town of Vijayawada city – Kondapalli, of Krishna District in Andhra Pradesh.
  • These toys are made of locally sourced Ponuku wood softwood (Tella Poniki).
    • The wood is first carved out and then the edges are smooth finished.

This 400-year-old art 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 later step involves colouring with either oil or water-colours or vegetable dyes and enamel paints are applied based on the type of the toys.
  • The artisans live in Bommala Colony (translates to Toys Colony). The families who make the toys are referred as aryakshatriyas (also known as nakarshalu), who the local people say find mention in the Brahmanda Purana, an ancient text.

Threat to the art

The Kondapalli toys, an art of wooden handicraft is on the verge of extinction. The three main reasons for that are

  • insufficient availability of wood
  • drastic fall in sales of toys
  • financial burdens on the artisans
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