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Indian Crafts >> Toys
Toys
Indian Crafts - Toys
History of Toys

India has a glorious tradition in toys. Historically Indian toys date back to 5000 years. The excavated toys and dolls found in Harappa and Mohenjodaro have been carefully preserved by the museums in India. Today, a large variety of materials are used for the manufacture of dolls and toys. Toys are the timeless creations and the torches, which guide children into adulthood. It is through these very toys, that they are initiated into the inner mysteries, traditions and myths of their culture. The figures of Gods and Goddesses who reveal their spirit in an artistic expression are very helpful for the learning about the rituals, customs and mythology. Mandwa ka sugga is an auspicious omen for the welfare of bride and groom. Saharanpur is famous for the toys and creating designs with the natural veins of the wood. These toys are made without any joints. They are attractive and harmless playthings for children.

Rajasthan is noted for its toys. The craftsmen here claim to be Rajputs. It is obviously an ancient craft calling for when a child is born a new lathe is added to the family possessions. In fact when a marriage is being fixed the boys family make sure that the bride to be is familiar with the lathe, so pivotal a role does it seem to play.The dolls and toys made are not only for play but have ritual significance also .Cloth toys from Jaipur with the decoration worked in coloured paper and tinsel are popular. Udaipur is also famous for its imitate dry fruit. It is a big centre for wooden toys. Bassi in Chittorgarh district is the another place, which is engaged in making wooden toys. A very striking object is the peacock boat with two riders, and when the top opens, a box is revealed below. Originally this was the toilet box given to the bride at marriage.

Toys and dolls are today made all over the country. From Gwalior comes the famous Batto Bai doll, named after a great crafts woman who with the help of a few workers, fashioned decorative Raja-Rani dolls from bamboo, rags and paper.

India has a truly glorious tradition in toys. The excavations starting from Harappa and Mohenjodaro have thrown up a magnificent profusion of clay toys of considerable ingenuity. The use of dates back to third century B.C. clay moulds were very popular during the Mauryan rule.Toys are torches, which guide children into adult life, for it is through them that they are initiated into the inner mysteries, traditions and faiths of the world they are to enter.

The most bewitching part of Indian Handicrafts lies in its child world-the toys and dolls. The tradition of toys started from Harappa and Mohanjodaro which have thrown up a magnificent profusion of clay toys of considerable ingenuity, animals with moveable heads, monkeys that slide round a stick and the most skilful toy carts. Toys are torches which guide children into adult life, for it is through them that they are initiated into the inner mysteries, traditions, faiths of the world they are to enter.
Fine Art
Generally toys representing ritualistic and symbolic deities based on the Hindu mythological characters are made.

The dolls and toys made are not only for play but have ritual significance also. Cloth toys from Jaipur with the decoration worked in coloured paper and tinsel are popular. Udaipur is also famous for its imitation dry fruit. It is a big centre for wooden toys. Bassi in Chittorgarh district is the another place, which is engaged in making wooden toys. A very striking object is the peacock boat with two riders, and when the top opens, a box is revealed below. Originally this was the toilet box given to the bride at marriage.

Some typical rural figures are made such as woman with a water pot, or basket of vegetable or grass. There are group of compositions like a batch of women dancing or a community tribal dance, king and queen, epic sand historical figures.

Andhra Pradesh is very rich in its range and variety of toys. The best known is Kondapalli toys. The artisans who make them are known as aryakshtriyas. Their specialty is making toys that is centred around themselves and the different vocations common to rural life, through a series of separate scenes like a small hut with a woman cooking, the various household implements, a man climbing a palm tree, a woman pounding grain or spinning on a wheeletc. The single figure of deities, especially the ten avataras divine manifestations are Andhra Pradesh is very rich in its range and variety of toys. The best known is Kondapalli toys. The artisans who make them are known as aryakshtriyas. Their specialty is making toys that are centred round themselves and the different vocations common to a rural life, through a series of separate scenes like a small hut with a woman cooking, the various household implements around; a man climbing a palm tree a woman pounding grain or spinning on a wheel etc. The single figure of deities, especially the ten avataras (divine manifestations) are extremely well done, some in very large sizes.Tirupati dolls made in Tiruchanur village near Tirupati are equally well known. They consist largely of reproductions of the religious figures in the traditional classical style seen in sculptures in small sizes as dolls. Some folk figures are made in couples with indications of clothing and ornaments on each. Each pair is called by a special name. Being solid unlike the delicate Kondapalli the figures can be handled by children with ease and they derive a sense of comfort from that very solidity.Ettikoppaka, a village in Vishkhapatnam district is known for its lacquered toys. Many household articles are produced in toy sizes, including sets of toy cooking vessels and furniture. The specialties here are mirrors in fancy frames and carts.

Toys and dolls are objects of joy in a child world, but the famous Haryana doll is a favourite will all age groups.The size of these cloth dolls range from 6 to 36. Some typical rural figures are made such as a women with a water pot or basket of vegetable. Group compositions like a batch of women dancing, tribal dances, classical Indian dances, jungle scenes with animals & birds, king & queen epics are also popular.
Procedure
The wood as per the size of the form to be made is cut from the block. The piece is cleaned and smoothened. The design of the toy to be made is traced on this piece. Extra wood is chipped off according to the design. Fine strokes with the hammer are made on the chisel, which is placed on the area to be shaped. It is smoothened with a file and painted. The painting starts with coloring various body parts. Next the dresses with specific designs are marked out by fine strokes of the brush. The facial features are added in the end.Sugga (parrot) are the wooden toys fixed on the marriage mandap. The mosara, (central part), charkhi and sugga (parrots) are made by the same process These are joined by bamboo killi (screw). The marriage post is coloured with yellow (turmeric), red (alta) and green colours.

The lacquering is done by pressing the lac stick against the revolving article. Oil is also applied at the same time for giving the better polish. Leaves of a kind of flowering cactus are used for polishing. The articles are either in single colour or in bands of different colours. The complicated designs and colour schemes are effected by manipulating the lac turnery and using the multifarious techniques.In Jaipur, the toys are made out of old cloth dyed afresh and stuffed with waste material. When they are gaily decorated with coloured paper and tinsel they look very alive especially with their expressive faces.

Rag dolls are made out of remnants of cloth usually thrown away. These are painstakingly collected and dyed into different shades to work out a variety of colour schemes. The eyes and mouth are indicated by black line . In case of a Rani doll, the clothes & body are fully decorated.

Each wooden piece that is cut to make an item is subjected to a process of slow heating to draw out all moisture. Every single limb is separately carved and joined to the body with adhesive paste of tamarind seeds, and later passed through a coating of lime glue. The painting with colours is done by very fine precision with brushes made of goats hair. Water and oil colours are both used. Lacquering is done on a lathe, hand or is machine operated. For turning slender and delicate items, hand lathe is considered suitable. In the lac turney method, lac is applied in a dry state that is the lac stick is pressed against the woodenware to be lacquered. While the latter keeps revolving, the heat generated by friction softens the lac, making the colour stick. Lacquer ware toys are produced in this way. It is with remarkable skill that the craftsmen manipulate the stick where several colours are used. Some of the lacquered pieces are painted with a brush.

Haryana heritage in this area is particularly rich. Toys are carved from wood and lacquered, or made with papier-mache and the dolls are mostly stuffed.
Resources
Basic Material : Bhurkul or gular wood, mango wood, green bamboo, shisham wood.
Decorative Material :
Colouring Material : Alta, turmeric.

Basic Material : Doodhia wood, lac, lac stick, oil, old cloth, coloured paper.

Basic Material : Remnants of cloth, bamboo, rags, paper
Colouring Material : Dye colours

Basic Material : Punki wood, tamarind seeds, lime glue, brush, water colour, oil colour, red sanders wood

Basic Material : Cloths, colours, waste material for stuffing, coloured papers, clay
Equipments
Ari (saw), basula, rukhani, barni, reti (file), ha







Artifacts
Painted toys, mandwa ka sugga (hudalawa ka sugga, jhoalan sugga), miniature figures of hindu deities like Ram, Sita, Lakshman etc, carved toys- carts, models of aeroplanes, cars, trolleys, dolls, rattle.

Cart drawn by a sparrow, kitchen sets, singardan (a box with articles of toilet), grinder, cradle on a stand, gramophone, train, car, jeep, aeroplane, counting stand, clock tower, figurers of animals, imitate dry fruits, figures of Ish and Ganghor (iswar and gauri)

Rag Dolls, Raja Rani dolls, Batto Bai doll

human forms, animals forms, birds, fruits, vegetables, models of village activities, mythological figures, Kondapalli toys

dolls, animals, birds, train counting stand

Indian Crafts : History of Toys