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Kondapalli wooden toys of Andhra Pradesh

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Kondapalli Toys are toys made of wood in Kondapalli of Krishna district, a nearby nearby Vijayawada in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Bommala Colony meaning ‘Toys Colony’ in Kondapalli is the place where the art of crafting takes place.

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Photos: The colourful Kondapalli toys from Andhra Pradesh - Outlook  Traveller
Kondapalli Wooden Toys

This craft was registered as one of the Geographical Indication handicraft from Andhra Pradesh as per Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. 

PM Modi showers praise on APs Etikoppaka and Kondapalli toys at Mann ki  Baat program
Kondapalli Wooden Toys

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These toys were one of the varieties of toys assembled in the houses during the festivals of Sankranti and Navratri and is referred as Bommala Koluvu.

History

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

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Kondapalli craft: You can't have money without meaning – Sangam
Kondapalli Wooden Toys

These craftsmen 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.

Toy Crafting

The Kondapalli toys are made from soft wood known as Tella Poniki which are found in nearby Kondapalli Hills. Each part is carved out separately. Then makku- a paste of tamarind seed powder & sawdust is used to join pieces together, add details and finish the toys.

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Kondapalli Wooden Toys

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Kondapalli Toys for Your Home
Kondapalli Wooden Toys

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.

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Andhra Hand Crafts Kondapalli Traditional Wooden Indian Marriage Couple Set Etikopaka Toys (Multicolour, 4 Inches)
Kondapalli Wooden Toys

Traditional Toys of Kondapalli

Kondapalli toys are famous for their light weight, vibrant colors and age-old production techniques. Themed around mythology, rural life and animals, these toys exhibit joyous and realistic expressions.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

The art shows the strong influence of Islamic style and pointed nose of the human figures is reminiscent of the 17th century Rajasthani style.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

The artisans who make these toys are known as ‘Aryakshatriyas’. It is said that these craftsmen migrated from Rajasthan to Kondapalli around the 16th century bringing with them the art of crafting toys.

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Kondapalli Wooden Toys

This 400-year old tradition has passed on from generation to generation with every member taking part in the toy-making activity in ‘Toy Colony’ of Kondapalli.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

There is also reference to this group of people in the “Brahmanda Purana”. This community claims its origin to Muktharishi, who is said to have been endowed with skills in arts and crafts by Lord Shiva himself.

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Kondapalli Wooden Toys

These Chitrakaras (craftsmen) claim that it was their ancestors who sculpted the numerous sculptures like the Garuda, Nandi, Simha and the Vahanas in the many temples in Andhra Pradesh.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

Over the years, Kondapalli toy has become a collectible from a plaything. The shift ate into the repurchase market because, unlike children’s toys, which tend to break, collectibles require little replacement.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

An integral part of the Dusshera and Sankranthi celebrations is the ‘Bommala Koluvu’ or ‘Kollu’, when toys are collected and ceremoniously displayed and most children and women would vie to have the most grand and elaborate collection.

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Kondapalli Wooden Toys

The artisans of Kondapalli would make the most business during these festivals, but these traditions are slowly vanishing and with them artisans are forced to look at measures to cut costs and switch to enamel colors instead of natural dyes.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

Though there was neglect of the interests and development of the Kondapalli artisans due to the advent of mechanized toys, the scenario has completely changed in recent years. The Government, Government departments, certain institutions and organisations are sincerely giving a helping hand in developing this industry

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

Support

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. 

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

Lepakshi and Lanco Institute of General Humanitarian Trust took initiative to keep alive this art of crafting toys

History and the Craft of Kondapalli Toy-Making

Situated in the heart of Andhra Pradesh, the village of Kondapalli is home to one of India’s most treasured artforms − Kondapalli toymaking. Sharing the honour of legacy are the families of Kondapalli, Vijayawada, bringing forth this ancestral tradition and striving to keep it alive in a modern world.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

Holding this traditional art form close to their souls, the Telugus of Andhra Pradesh take great pride in nurturing their timeless art of carving delightful toys out of wood.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

Colloquially known as Aryakshatriyas or Nakarshalu, the Kondapalli artisan finds mention in the legendary Brahmanda Purana. Such is the timelessness of handicraft, continuing to shape the identity of society by preserving culture.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

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In 1999, empowered by the government’s recognition of Kondapalli toymaking as one of India’s geographical indication handicrafts, the beautiful art form sets higher hopes for the future of craft.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

The craft of Kondapalli has undergone refinement over four centuries, igniting a sense of spirit among the artisans. No more divided by region or caste, today’s Kondapalli community is a result of diversity and passion, speaking in varying dialects but sharing an unbreakable bond through art.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

In times kinder to the common artisan, handicraft enabled balance in society. A heightened sense of purpose remained the top priority while the artisans of Kondapalli delightfully seized the day.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

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Comparing it with today’s economy where bland manufactured products have become conventional, these wooden curios handcrafted with the utmost care are the diamonds in the dust.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

One cannot overlook the artisan’s attention to colour and style and ponder upon the brilliance of its sculptor.

A swift influence of Islamic and Rajasthani forms can be seen in the woodwork and detailing of each toy. Starting off with blocks of Tella Poniki wood abundant in their region, the artisan leaves the logs under the sun for 20 days for seasoning the perfect wood.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

The wood feels magically light and easy to work with, after which the artisan begins chiselling out the shape of the toy. He masterfully chisels the smaller components of the toy separately and fastens the pieces together with locally made acacia gum.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

Centuries of handicraft evolution has enabled the artisans to select the most suitable techniques for the cause. As the artisan softens the edges and perfects the angles, the charm of the toy starts to shine through the previously dusty log of wood.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

The Kondapalli curios are made waterproof with linseed oil and exotically rendered with vibrant colours to finish the look. Armies of iconic wooden toys are stacked at the end of the day, each unique and priceless in its own sense.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

Global demand for authentic Indian handicraft is skyrocketing with the spread of awareness. Kondapalli toymaking is an invaluable asset to the rural communities of South India.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

The craft enables a life of self-sustenance to the illiterate population of Kondapalli by earning a livelihood out of what they do best. Their incredible flair for woodcarving is irreplaceable, giving us one more reason to treasure this cultural ethos of South India.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

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Shopping catalogue at Artsytribe holds some of the most iconic Kondapalli toys. The famous bobbling-head dancing girl known locally as Kondapalli Aatabomma, the elegant women drawing water and the bullock cart − to name a few.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

When festivals are around the corner, Kondapalli Bommalu get off their shelves and become the main attraction of the day.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

Sankranti is celebrated in vigour with an arrangement of Kondapalli ensemble, narrating tales of religion, society and folklore.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

With their creative take on traditional themes, the artisans devote a large portion of their work to rural life and spirituality. The enchanting village of Vrindavan with Krishna and Radha figurines, bullock carts and children engaging in indoor games are some of the most revered themes of Kondapalli.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys


Entertaining the young and the old alike, Kondapalli Bommalu (Doll) have certainly earned their spot as the most beloved form of handicrafts in India.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

Kondapalli Bommalu, the signature speciality of Andhra Pradesh, fit right into your collection of authentic handmade art. They are also called by the name “Koyya Bommalu” locally. By emulating ‘rural’ into ‘urban,’ they add personality and joy to homes.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

Government venues are presenting Kondapalli Bommalu at social events as tokens of recognition and gratitude. Both a child’s favourite and an adult’s pick, Kondapalli toys are for everyone.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

ArtsyTribe extend support to the local artisans of Kondapalli and deliver these carefully crafted memoirs of love to your doorstep. Whether thoughtfully gifted by a daughter to her nostalgic mother or by a mother to her little daughter, it brings an unforgettable smile.

Kondapalli Wooden Toys

Wooden Painted Toys of Kondapalli, locally known as Kondapalli toys in Andhra Pradesh are world-famous for their special wood that adds a touch of aesthetics to drawing rooms with their finely created figurines.

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Kondapalli Wooden Toys

These toys have carved a niche of their own in the world of handicrafts. Nimble fingered artisans carve with aplomb, as characters emerge and evolve from light soft wood.

The wooden piece is heated to make it moisture-free. Different parts of the image are carved separately. They are then glued together with an adhesive made of crushed tamarind seeds.

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Both water and oil colours are used to paint the toy or figurine. Painting is done with soft and thin paint brushes made of goat’s hair.

The toys depict scenes from actual life, animals, rural folks, deities and characters from the epics. Kondapalli soldiers, pen stand, Dasavatar set and the Ambari elephants are among the famous items produced by the artisans here.

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The small wonders, made of white Poniki and painted with natural colors like vegetable dyes, are a collector’s delight. Vegetable dyes are used for painting the toys which are of export quality while Oil paints are used for colouring the toys sold within India and enamel paints are applied for the toys made for the purpose of special occasions.


Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

By Mala Chandrashekhar

Though academically trained in modern Western Sciences, Blogger Mala Chandrashekhar is a crazy maniac of India's ageless, timeless ethnic arts, crafts & textiles. The rich & glorious cultural & spiritual heritage of India is a subject extremely dear to her heart, and the whole of this Blog has been dedicated to spreading the immortal glories of ancient India worldwide, to every nook & corner of the globe, through these simple Blog-posts. Any constructive criticisms & suggestions in this regard for improvement of the Blog 'MOST WELCOME'. Also, High-Quality Guest Blog-posts 'MOST WELCOME". LinkedIn Profile : https://in.linkedin.com/in/mala-chandrashekhar-04095917a