Craft, incredibly delicate

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Myriad themes: Mohiudeen with his Kondapalli toys.
Myriad themes: Mohiudeen with his Kondapalli toys.


Colourful dolls and glittering filigree work are on display at Sri Sankara Hall.

The colour drenched folk charm of Andhra’s traditional Kondapalli wooden toys and Orissa’s delicately crafted silver filigree craft bring a special resonance to the festive season. Brightly polished, colourful and ingeniously conceptualised deities, rural tableaux, fruit, flower and fauna add a distinctive touch to the kolu ritual and celebration.

They can also be a focus on which tales can be woven for the children from the epics or everyday life in rural India. Orissa’s silver filigree jaal jewellery and artefacts, incredible in their delicacy of workmanship, reflect the Indian crafts persons’ quest for perfection. They are collector’s items at all times and much sought after jewellery during festivals, their delicacy a welcome foil to today’s penchant for chunky silver tribal jewellery.

Captivating designs

Whittling away at a stump of white wood with a knife at Sri Sankara Hall is Mohiudeen, carving out a 6” Hanuman. He works with deep concentration at the icon’s visage. After that he moves on to do tinier versions of Rama and Lakshmana and joins them to the main in the conceptualised pose. Then will follow colouring in blues, oranges and black with natural dye pigments in which a special oil is mixed to give it the required sheen.

Mohiudeen who is from Vijayawada learnt his craft from his father who is based in Kondapalli. His Ganeshas are captivating, done in three parts and auspiciously painted in vermillion. Krishna and Radha is another favourite theme, again painted over in lyrical colours. But it is superbly crafted bullock carts, palkis and howdas, etc., which captivate with their charming realism. Mohiudeen’s repertoire includes well crafted bangles, rattles, skipping ropes and bowls.

Pradip from Orissa who comes from a paramparik family makes exquisitely layered jaali work flowers, ships, floral bouquets and jewellery. His minute jaali work is exemplary and is created by joining (by hand) 1/4th millimetre silver curves made of silver wires. Flower and leaf motifs in jewellery are done by this method. His incredibly delicate bracelets and pendants, hairpins and kumkum boxes feature both jaali work and linear configurations.

Both Kondapalli toys and silver filigree work from Orissa are on display at Sri Sankara Hall, TTK Road, Teynampet. Also on view are other craft items including Orissa State Award winner Badal Padhi’s tussar paintings with tribal themes etc. The exhibition concludes on September 21.

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