25 February 2010

Chennapatna toys.....an art form & the safest toys that can be used today!!!!

Recently, while returning from a trip to Mysore, we stopped by at the small city of Chennapatna which is on the Mysore- Bangalore highway. Although it was for just a little while & I did'nt get to see the place, I had heard quite a bit about it. The craft of the place has captured my imagination for quite a while now & I cannot help collecting & hoarding up on these toys.

This craftsmanship of Channapatna Toys (also called Gombegala Ooru or toy-town of Karnataka) can be traced to the time of Tipu Sultan, the erstwhile ruler of Mysore who invited artisans from Persia to train the local artists in the making of wooden toys. This tradition has continued for nearly 2 centuries & we now have people entirely engaged in this profession.

The wooden toys & dolls are made using wood (preferably ivory-wood) which is seasoned, pruned & carved & finally colours made out of vegetable dye are used to ensure that the toys are safe for children.

Because this traditional craft is ancient & might possibly die out, the Govt. of Karnataka has protected it as a Geographical Indication (GI) & is doing all it can to keep the artisans up to date on the changing trends & market the products succesfully.

I guess all of us need to do our bit, take the time out & know & appreciate these one of a kind pieces!!!

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