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Andhra Pradesh Leather Puppetry

Exclusive GI Products from Andhra Pradesh
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About Andhra Pradesh Leather Puppetry


The puppeteers comprise some of the various entertainers who perform all night and usually reenact various stories from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The legacy of this craft can be traced back to 200 years ago to an ancient folk world. Indian tradition and religion has had a significant influence on leather-puppetry, this has been evident from its mention in the two great Hindu epics- the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. These have been an integral cherished part of the craft of Southern India. The art form offers a splendid history of the region. A consistent triangular relationship exists between the three words often used in this art form of leather-puppetry “Killekyatha” and “Bangarakka”. These two were well known communities of Karnataka a few decades ago. Its origin can be traced back to the pre-historic times.

Vegetable colors were earlier used but photo colors are now used as these colors are readily available. The puppet sizes range from 3 inches to about 6 feet. They are used as shadow puppets. They have a wider range of products- from lampshades to door hanging and wall hangings. In Nimmalakunta about 60 families are engaged in this craft. They depict stories related to the Hindu Mythology such as Ramayana and Mahabharata . The puppets are heavily decorated. The theatres where these puppet shows are performed are known as Tholu Bommalata. These artisans migrated from Maharashtra to Andhra Pradesh during the Maratha rule. The themes are mostly based on mythological epics like Satisulodhana and Dasavatra." value="Tholu Bommalata literally means "the dance of leather puppets" (tholu – leather and bommalata – puppet dance). Tholu Bommalata is the shadow puppet theatre tradition of the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. Its performers are part of a group of wandering entertainers and peddlers who pass through villages during the course of a year and offer to sing ballads, tell fortunes, sell amulets, perform acrobatics, charm snakes, weave fishnets, tattoo local people and mend pots. This ancient custom, which for centuries before radio, movies, and television provided knowledge of Hindu epics and local folk tales, not to mention news, spread to the most remote corners of the subcontinent.

The puppeteers comprise some of the various entertainers who perform all night and usually reenact various stories from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The legacy of this craft can be traced back to 200 years ago to an ancient folk world. Indian tradition and religion has had a significant influence on leather-puppetry, this has been evident from its mention in the two great Hindu epics- the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. These have been an integral cherished part of the craft of Southern India. The art form offers a splendid history of the region. A consistent triangular relationship exists between the three words often used in this art form of leather-puppetry “Killekyatha” and “Bangarakka”. These two were well known communities of Karnataka a few decades ago. Its origin can be traced back to the pre-historic times.

Vegetable colors were earlier used but photo colors are now used as these colors are readily available. The puppet sizes range from 3 inches to about 6 feet. They are used as shadow puppets. They have a wider range of products- from lampshades to door hanging and wall hangings. In Nimmalakunta about 60 families are engaged in this craft. They depict stories related to the Hindu Mythology such as Ramayana and Mahabharata . The puppets are heavily decorated. The theatres where these puppet shows are performed are known as Tholu Bommalata. These artisans migrated from Maharashtra to Andhra Pradesh during the Maratha rule. The themes are mostly based on mythological epics like Satisulodhana and Dasavatra." required>Tholu Bommalata literally means "the dance of leather puppets" (tholu – leather and bommalata – puppet dance). Tholu Bommalata is the shadow puppet theatre tradition of the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. Its performers are part of a group of wandering entertainers and peddlers who pass through villages during the course of a year and offer to sing ballads, tell fortunes, sell amulets, perform acrobatics, charm snakes, weave fishnets, tattoo local people and mend pots. This ancient custom, which for centuries before radio, movies, and television provided knowledge of Hindu epics and local folk tales, not to mention news, spread to the most remote corners of the subcontinent.

The puppeteers comprise some of the various entertainers who perform all night and usually reenact various stories from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The legacy of this craft can be traced back to 200 years ago to an ancient folk world. Indian tradition and religion has had a significant influence on leather-puppetry, this has been evident from its mention in the two great Hindu epics- the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. These have been an integral cherished part of the craft of Southern India. The art form offers a splendid history of the region. A consistent triangular relationship exists between the three words often used in this art form of leather-puppetry “Killekyatha” and “Bangarakka”. These two were well known communities of Karnataka a few decades ago. Its origin can be traced back to the pre-historic times.

Vegetable colors were earlier used but photo colors are now used as these colors are readily available. The puppet sizes range from 3 inches to about 6 feet. They are used as shadow puppets. They have a wider range of products- from lampshades to door hanging and wall hangings. In Nimmalakunta about 60 families are engaged in this craft. They depict stories related to the Hindu Mythology such as Ramayana and Mahabharata . The puppets are heavily decorated. The theatres where these puppet shows are performed are known as Tholu Bommalata. These artisans migrated from Maharashtra to Andhra Pradesh during the Maratha rule.
The themes are mostly based on mythological epics like Satisulodhana and Dasavatra.

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