FRIDAY REVIEW

Poompuhar ushers in kolu

Exquisitely crafted.

Exquisitely crafted.  

A panorama of folklore, tales from mythology and vignettes of every day life unfolds at an exhibition of Kolu toys presented by Poompuhar.

The toys charm with their folksy exuberance and use of bright colours and showcase the creativity of the craftsperson in mediums as diverse as papier-m�ch�, clay, plaster of Paris, terracotta, wood and wax. The great gilded Raja Rani toys of Tirupati are missing, but the ingenuity of the craftsperson can be seen in the `theme' toys, crafted out of clay, telling tales of the Tirupati pilgrimage, a temple rath procession or scenes from Chola history.

Made locally, these vibrantly coloured toys are very popular as are the large variety of papier-m�ch� toys and icons representing gods and goddesses, scenes from mythology and so on.

Ranging from tiny miniature items to 3-4 feet icons, the papier-m�ch� section at the Poompuhar Kolu Sale is a veritable explosion of colour and creativity.

More colour in the form of clay fruits, good enough to eat, catches the eye. Both clay and wax fruits that come from Kolkata are hugely popular both as Kolu items and decoration for the dining table. Equally popular are toys and dolls from West Bengal, fashioned out of plaster of Paris and given a ceramic finish. Featuring human figures, birds and animals, the toys have the delicacy of porcelain.

But it is the Kondapalli, Chennapatna and Krishnanagar toys that give the classic Kolu touch to the exhibition. The pretty and lightweight Kondapalli toys celebrate the festival in exquisitely crafted sets of Rama-Sita, Dasavataar, Gitopadesa, etc.

Chennapatna's lacquer toys depict everything from birds on trees to Hare Rama sets. And West Bengal's Krishnanagar toys are scene-stealers as always with their finely nuanced, very realistic depictions of tinker, tailor, soldier — with every detail in place!

Made out of special clay these toys have everything in place, from the special `kamandal' used by a Bengali brahmin for his puja to the exquisitely reproduced umbrella being repaired by a wayside umbrella repairer!

No collection of Indian toys can be complete without a charming Krishnanagar piece. Poompuhar's Kolu exhibition will be on at 108 Anna Salai, till October 12.

PUSHPA CHARI

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