Of kolu dolls made of clay, cloth, silk, fibre and more

It’s kolu time once more — time for festive tiers of dolls and tableaux, exuberantly coloured gods and goddesses, and marapachi bommais dressed to the hilt! Dolls from Kondapalli, Channapatna and Ettikopaka, and those made of clay, papier-mâché, cloth, glass, shell, zari, silk and fibre, with vegetable dyes are waiting to be taken home for Navaratri.

Kondapalli toys

The kolu exhibition at C.P. Arts Centre is a splash of orange, blue and green Kondapalli toys and tableaux. The orange-drenched bullock carts laden with tiny replicas of gunny sacks charm with their attention to detail. Equally riveting are the ultramarine shading in indigo Krishnas. Ganeshas and Hanumans decorate the kolu’s steps. The attractive Kondapalli range includes tableaux of lush rural idylls, and figures of tinkers, tailors and fishmongers reminiscent of Krishnanagar clay toys from West Bengal.

The exhibition also includes Channapatna vegetable-coloured trains and figures as well as marapachi dolls dressed in glittering costumes.

In fact, the exhibition at Poompuhar too has a stunning collection of marapachi bommais, some three feet tall. These are collector’s items. Also on view are a brightly coloured range of papier-mâché toys, figurines of gods and goddesses. A gilded two-ft tall Rama and Hanuman in embrace catches the eye, bringing into focus the folk spirit of toy making in Tamil Nadu. Also on view are brightly-coloured clay toys, fibre dolls, marble jaali work icons from Mamallapuram. Both the exhibitions conclude on October 22. C.P. Arts Centre is located at No. 1, Eldams Road, and Poompuhar, at No. 108, Anna Salai.