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‘Bombe Mane’ opens today at Pratima Gallery

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A SLICE OF TRADITION: ‘Bome Mane’, an exhibition of dolls, at Ramsons Kala Pratishtana in Mysore.
A SLICE OF TRADITION: ‘Bome Mane’, an exhibition of dolls, at Ramsons Kala Pratishtana in Mysore.

Special Correspondent

It is being organised by Ramsons Kala Pratishtana

MYSORE: “Bombe Mane”, an exhibition of dolls will be held at Pratima Gallery from September 11 to 28.

Brought by Ramsons Kala Pratishtana, there are 5,000 dolls from 15 States. The exhibition is bound to generate a renewed interest in “Gombe Habba” which was an intrinsic part of Dasara or Navaratri.

“However, this aspect of the tradition has faded, and hence, the Ramsons Kala Pratishtana has made an attempt to revive this fading but colourful tradition,” according to Raghav Dharmendra of the pratishtana.

On display will be dolls made of wood, cloth, paper, etc., all hand-made and directly procured from artisans or even made-to-order for customers. As for instance, the scenes depicting the Dasara procession or the Mahishasura, Mr. Dharmendra said.

Being held for the fifth consecutive year, “Bombe Mane” has emerged as a popular destination for the tourists as also the people of Mysore during Dasara to get a glimpse of the dolls on display.

Mr. Dharmendra said: “We observed that the scale and grandeur of the celebrations was declining and was not as colourful as it was 20 years ago. Hence, we thought of collecting the dolls and put them on display. But we discovered that dolls of clay are not being manufactured in Mysore any longer. Hence, we had to scout for them in other States,” he added.

For the visitors, it will be a treat for the eyes as dolls in all sizes and shapes in myriad colours will greet them. The tradition of displaying dolls was common in Old Mysore area as also in other parts of the country. It was popular among children who would go around in groups visiting as many houses as possible and savour snacks, specially prepared for children, during nine days of Gombe Habba. But that was till a few years ago.

The Gombe Totti or Dolls Pavillion at the Mysore Palace was a gallery exclusively devoted to the display of dolls by the royal family.

For the pratishtana, it is a labour of love as beautiful dolls depicting the Dasara procession have been crafted by artisans based on designs given by the Ramsons which also includes a reproduction of Mysore Palace.Also on display will be terracotta kitchen set rendered by the master potters of Velar community in Tamil Nadu.

Other displays include miniature version of animals, palace courtiers, dolls depicting village scene, among others.

Though the flavour of the earlier Gombe Habba has been effaced with the passage of time, “Bombe Mane” is an effort to revive and help the new generation rediscover their cultural moorings.

Ramsons Kala Pratishtana is opposite the Mysore zoo and the exhibition will be open from 10 a.m.

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