Craft at its best - Making of Kondapalli Toys

Aditi Gupta

In India, the art of crafting and carving has been alive since more than 400 years. The artisans who make toys on their own are said migrate from Rajasthan many centuries back to Kondapalli (Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh).

The Kondapalli Toys are not merely a decor item to the locals, they are objects of pride to the Telugu people. It depicts their cultural heritage and love for craft.
There are many steps involved in their making. In fact, it is so nice to watch these beautiful toys being made live. The craftsmen first carve the Puniki or Tella Poniki wood (white colored wood specially grown in the hills of Kondapalli) to shape it. The wood is stuffed with sawdust.

The wooden piece is heated to make it moisture-free; so that it lasts long. Different parts of the image are carved separately. They are then glued together with a strong homemade adhesive made of crushed tamarind seed paste for giving it a smooth texture.

Both water and natural oil colours are used to paint the toy or figurine. Vegetable dyes are also used excessively for painting of these mini sculptures. 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.

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