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‘Bombe Mane’ exhibition

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Heritage: On display at the show in Mysore.
Heritage: On display at the show in Mysore.

R. Krishna Kumar

With dolls from all over the country

To help young people get in touch with tradition

To keep alive the festival as part of cultural heritage

MYSORE: This city, which is set to cover itself with glory during Dasara, will have a new addition to the tourist itinerary: ‘Bombe Mane’ or Dolls House.

An old tradition that is fast fading into oblivion, ‘Bombe Mane’ is an attempt to rekindle and help the new generation reconnect to an earlier practice that was observed during Navaratri or Dasara.

Organised by Ramsons Kala Pratishtana, it is an exhibition of hundreds of traditional dolls in myriad colours and shapes from across the country.

Reckoned to be common in cities that were once the seat of royalty, the festival entails arranging different dolls on a stepped platform in which the king and the queen occupy the topmost platform while other dolls are arranged lower down.

Also called ‘Gombe Habba’ in Mysore and ‘Bommai Kolu’ in Thanjavur, there are similarities here with “Hinamatsuri” of Japan and the unique display of dolls during Krishna Janmashtami in north India.

The organisers pointed out that the sole purpose of ‘Bombe Mane’ was to rekindle the passion for dolls among Mysoreans.

Miniature kitchenware, doll house furniture, clothes, jewellery and other accessories for dolls, replicas of trees, carts and other material that reconstructs the rural landscape will also be on display.Each of the items on display has been procured by Ramsons directly from artisans to ensure their authenticity.

The dolls have been painstakingly created by dexterous hands and hence are a piece of art. This is a far cry from the plastic dolls mass-produced in factories using automated machinery.

The festival of dolls was synonymous with Mysore Dasara till a few decades ago and, what is more, the city was a centre of doll-making. But that tradition has since been supplanted and an attempt is being made to keep alive the tradition of the doll festival as part of the State’s cultural heritage.

For the new generation, which has missed out on the old flavour, a visit to ‘Bombe Mane’ will help give a feel of the traditions of a bygone era.

The exhibition to be held at Ramsons Kala Pratishtana opposite the Mysore zoo, will be inaugurated on Friday and will be thrown open to the public from Saturday.

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