Alternative Medium for kids, to draw attention from Screen Entertainment.

I started My cultural interest journey, during my graduation. It was a craft education orientated institute, based in the capital of Rajasthan. My specialization was in textile designing that led to witness cultural diversity throughout in  the country.  That made me learned a lot about culture, through their aboriginal attire and craft culture preference. Those easily get influenced by history, geography, climate condition and cultural beliefs about that indigenous place. These facts intrigue my interest to not only  see their craft but also look at, life around them.

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I love travelling,though it’s not as easy to manage along with your professional 9 to 5 job but somehow I make it possible if I want it bad enough.

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The culture of India is one of the oldest and unique. The South, North and Northeast have their own distinct cultures and almost every state has carved out its own cultural niche. There is hardly any culture in the world that is as varied and unique as India. But Due to urbanization of young generation on one side where we are becoming a multicultural society, On the other hand, we are losing our distinct tradition and its cultural values.We can clearly understand as if, as many rituals and custom our grandparents followed; in the next generation my mom not able to follows them all. In fact, in heirloom, I also won’t be able to follow half of what my mom does now.  That would happen Due to lack of resources, knowledge, and interest.

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So in that way, if the majority of generation ignores their culture and its values, it can’t survive for long. So here we can trace where it is proceeding, But no!! We don’t want our unique and diverse culture to get write off. Then the question is how to protect it?

Culture in itself a very vast topic; we can classify it in 2 as tangible and intangible aspects.

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On following key points, we need to think on individual level, about our own part of contribution, to keep attached next generation with the culture. As parents, it’s our job to choose the right occasion  and right places to help them explore, inspect, create, and question everything around them.

dav
http://www.handmadetoys.in
dav
http://www.handmadetoy.in

Here I’m putting my little efforts by creating ‘ TANGIBLE MINIATURE’ artworks to promote cultural education. I believe these artworks will ENCOURAGE parent to involved them-self with kids. I choose Parents to cover the intangible aspects of these cultural artworks. That’s how you can make them understand their own roots, primal culture, and its values.Top of the thing, we are giving various topics to parents, to share their own respective part of memories. Those memories you might have collected in their life, over a certain time. It would be exactly like introducing them with your family photo album, where they start recognizing your family friends and events based on your detailed description.

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http://www.handmadetoys.in
dav
http://www.handmadetoys.in

Topic of artworks I’ll choose from different distinct culture. On first series, I covered North Indian culture. For more clarity about its tangible and intangible aspects, I will cover whole article on each of them.

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while working and observing the pattern of learning for kids in past 3 years , I found that there are mainly 7 ways to make them learn anything –

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1-visual, 2- aural, 3- social, 4-solitary, 5- physical, 6- logical, 7-verbal.

Here parents, teachers, friends n society play a great role to build the character and cultural knowledge of kids.Only Parents and teachers can play the best role to connect them with their culture, as they are the closest persons to them. I strongly believe that Visual, social and verbal communication bridge will find alternative to keep kids away from screen entertainment; where they only get trapped in someone else simulation.

dav
http://www.handmadetoys.in
dav
http://www.handmadetoys.in

Knowledge about culture will open a whole new field of imagination and understanding for kids to analyze Cultural Revolution. I just want you to Give them food of thought and Let them play with their own imagination.

Lord Jagannath and his siblings, Balabhadra and Subhadra, deities smile at me :)

jagananth_1413021999We covered many heritage toys stories from north, south and west, how could we forgot to Raghurajpur . On the mapping of traditionally rich heritage places, you will found Raghurajpur painted with bold strokes. Raghurajpur heritage craft village is in Odisha, 14 km away from Hindu pilgrimage town of Puri. Raghurajpur renowned to produce different varieties of handicrafts.

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This is the only village in India, where each family is engaged in one craft or the other such as patta paintings, palm leaf engravings, papermache toys and masks, wood carvings, wooden toys, cow dung toys and so on. Raghurajpur a place where arts and crafts have reached its stage of excellence.

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Photo credit: Abhimanyu Biriki

There are barely a hundred homes in this village. Narrow houses located on either side of narrow lanes, a temple on each lane, a sit out area in front of each house, total wooden interiors (beams, pillars, doors and the likes) and traditional decor is how Raghurajpur looks at first glance. but once u enter u will found every home is an studio and every another person is an artist or a chitrakar, creating and preserving the traditional art form of Pattachitra and other carft painted with Pattachitra. In this village you will found fascinating murals painted on the outer walls of every home.

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photo credit; Abhimanyu Biriki

The reigning theme is the portrait of the three faces that fill up every space on the walls: the triad deities of Puri – Lord Jagannath and his siblings, Balabhadra and Subhadra. Almost every art form in this village is inspired by them.

As I always talks about cultural art toys and artifacts over my blog, here also we will talk upon those features only.

Coconut n betel nut painting-  

coconut shell called  nadia are inexpensive in Orissa, given its long coastline where coconut trees grow in abundance. Decorative and utility items crafted from coconut shells work out cheaper on account of the low cost of raw material,and less labour involved in comparison to betel nut carving.

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photo credit: Abhimanyu Biriki

on these shells, where the triad deities smile at me.

Cow dung toys

From centuries, toys made from cowdung have severed as cheap substitutes to wooden and metal toys, especially for marginalized communities. The raw material is free and production cost is negligible almost. They are mostly made by womens of stone carvers community, these brightly painted toys are rustic in design. Birds, animals are popular motifs as are statuettes of lard jagannath and his companions.

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These are sold in local markets . cowdung enjoyed a great deal of value in india and is thought of as holy as well as having antiseptic property.

Papier-mâché masks

Like other handicrafts linked with Raghurajpur, this handicraft made from wet waste paper too has its origin at this heritage village. Local pattachitra artists uses natural colours & mythological figures to make this masks.

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Photo credit: Abhimanyu Biriki

It can be used as wall hanging, toys & as puja idol. Masks of demons can also be used in front of houses to ward off evil eyes.

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Photo Credit: Abhimanyu Biriki

Ettikoppaka is famous for its age-old tradition of sparkling colorful wooden toys and objects.

I have never been in the south (South of India) before. The Past from few months being in Bangalore I get this chance to know the culture customs n believes of them.  Though language is an issue between us, but curiosity n eagerness breaks all barrios. I interact with artisans of these toys makers to get to know their all aspects which make them so exquisite. From south zone These prominent toys names are very famous, Ettikoppaka, Chennapatnam , Kondapalli. Let’s start talk about Ettikoppaka, cause rest I already cover in my previous articles before.

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Ettikoppaka is a village in Andhra Pradesh (India), famed for its toys and decorative artefacts on the banks of the Varaha River, the name Etikoppaka means itself, a group of houses on the banks of the river.It is 65 km from Visakhapatnam. The village economy is mostly based on farming. Ettikoppaka , is famous for two things The first ever cooperative sugar factory in the country and  second for, the lac industry.

The origination of these toys tradition consist a history behind itself.The villages around Koppaka (place in Visakhapatnam district) have always been involved in producing handicrafts of weaving, brass works, and the wooden article/toy making. The Ettikoppaka toy making industry has its origin in Nakkapalli, a village next to Koppaka which originally know by the name ‘Laccapalli’. About a hundred years ago, the village held the monopoly in making colorful miniature pillars, decorative arches and jharokas, which were assembled together to make the elaborate temple carts. Orders for such articles came from distant temple towns like Kanchipuram, Tanjore and Puri. The artisans kept the finer points of lac making and lacquer coating a closely guarded secret during that time. Around the turn of the century, the landlords of Etikoppaka resettled the artisans of Nakkapalli at Ettikoppaka, where the cottage industry flourished. More than 200 artisan families living in this village currently.

Ettikoppaka is famous for its age-old tradition of sparkling colorful wooden toys and objects. .Ettikoppaka toys are made of soft and fine grain ‘Ankudu woods’. Women and children pick it up from nearby hills and leave it to dry in the courtyards. The workplace and tools are primitive. It is a wonder that with these primitive tools, objects of such skill originate here.

 

The toys are given shape with the help of turnwood machine. Zero emery paper is used to smooth the surface of the wood. Then colored lac is applied on the wood, which spreads uniformly due to the heat. After applying colored lac, the wood is polished with keora leaf, which contains silicate and fatty acids. Stones are used to blend the colors. The black color is obtained from haritaki fruit. The yellow is rendered by wild turmeric, red from zafran while green is made by mixing indigo and wild turmeric.

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Ettikoppka has GI (Geographical Identification) tag registration since from 2004. GI tag give a unique identity to any product especially toys and handicrafts that help the industry and artisans from the onslaught of duplicacy. GI helps to promote a product globally and also provides protection from others making it at any other location than the place it originated.

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So that’s the rigorous task behind it to make these toys exquisite since from ages.

Hope u praise from the very next time while buying Ettikoppaka toys the passion tradition and patience of these toys makers.

Channapatna city is famous as “Gombegala ooru” (toys town) in Karnataka.

Channapatna city is famous as “Gombegala ooru” (toys town) in Karnataka. the name itself suggests what it is famous for- wooden toys. it is located in between Bangalore-mysore highway. Channapatna toy makers keep one of our oldest traditions alive, Channapatna  is  a small city  yet it has a prominent name in the field of art and handicrafts. The lacquered channapatna wooden toys are known for their highly fashionable appeal which is made with bright and vivid colours. The finishing of these wooden toys is very smooth and eco friendly.

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Tipu Sultan

History indicates that the origin of these toys can be traced to the reign of Tipu Sultan who invited artisans from Persia to train the local artisans in the making of wooden toys. Bavas Miyan is the father of Channapatna Toy. He is the one who sacrifice his life for channapatna toys. He adopted Japanese technology for toys making and help the local artisans improve their art.

Channapatna toys are made of a specific type of wood called “Aale mara” (Ivory- wood). For nearly two centuries, ivory-wood  the main wood which were  used in the making of these toys,though rosewood and sandalwood were also occasionally used.

Geometrical instruments like the vernier caliper and the divider is used frequently to measure the size and maintain the accuracy.at this stage the product is removed from the lathe and in case of two different parts they are assembled together and then followed with suface embellishment which involves other decorative adorning on the surface of the toy.

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the natural vegitable colour extracted from natural element as yellow from turmeric, blue and  black from indigo, orange from  kanchi kum kum power, red from natural alizarin and kum kum power, green from indigo and turmeric, light brown from katha, dark brown from ratanjyot. Vegitable dyes has high permanence and durability and  ensure that the toys and dolls are safe for the use of  children.

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The real charm of channapatna is that the craft is not practiced in large-scale industries and factories,but within­­­ the confines of small homes.In  reality, the entire toy making industry is a small scale industry. Some are so small that the work is done right outside the homes of these skilled artisans. But the majority of them shop are where four to six people can work together. This aspect has certainly made a mark on the international circle.

Marapachi Kolu ( A couple doll)

Before let u introduced with Marapachi dolls let me describe u first from which rituals they belong to.

Bommai Kolu   is a tradition of doll figurine display festival during  Navratri in south India. This custom practiced in state of Tamil nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerla. This festival have interesting rituals; Once the initials pooja get done in Navarati, This is then followed by building a rack of odd-numbered shelves of Kolu (usually 3, 5, 7, 9, or 11), set up using wooden planks. After the Kolu has been covered with fabric it is then adorned with various dolls, figurines and toys according to their size, with the deities at the top. The Kolu is predominantly displayed with depictions from Puranas, court life, royal procession, ratha yatra, weddings, everyday scenes, toys, miniature kitchen utensils, anything a little girl would have played with. Most of the wooden toys displayed come from traditional toy makers in EtikoppakaKondapalliKinnal and Channapatna about them I will explain you respectively later on my further articles….

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It is a traditional practice to have wooden figurines of the bride and groom together, called ‘Marapacchi Bommai’ or ‘Pattada Gombe’, usually made of teak or sandalwood and decorated with new clothes each year before being displayed on the Kolu. In southern India bride is presented ‘Marapacchi Bommai’ during the wedding by her parents as part of wedding trousseau to initiate the yearly tradition of ‘Navaratri Gollu’ in her new home with her husband. These dolls come as couples dressed in their wedding attire, depicting husband and wife symbolizing prosperity and fertility and the start of the bride’s Gollu collection. Display figurines are passed on from one generation to another as heirloom. Another belief is that these dolls were dressed in wedding finery to be able to capture the essence of marriage forever. Those were the days when there were no photos so these dolls represented the marriage in the absence of photos.

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