The art of crafting is a 400-year-old tradition. The artisans who make the toys are referred to as Aryakhastriyas (also known as Nakarshalu), who have their mentioned in the Brahmanda Purana. They are said to have migrated from Rajasthan in the 16th century to Kondappali and claim their origin to Muktharishi, a sage endowed with skills in arts and crafts by Lord Shiva.
The Kondapalli toys are made from soft wood known as Tella Poniki which are found in nearby Kondapalli Hills. Each part is carved out separately. Then makku- a paste of tamarind seed powder & sawdust is used to join pieces together, add details and finish the toys. The later step involves coloring with either oil and watercolors or vegetable dyes and enamel paints are applied based on the type of the toys. The artisans mainly work on producing figures of mythology, animals, birds, bullock carts, rural life, etc., and the most notable one is Dasavataram, dancing dolls, etc
The art form which has got patronage from the rulers in ancient times is in decline due to lack of profits, time is taken to produce toys, the influence of western art, and younger generations not being encouraged towards this art Lepakshi and Lanco Institute of General Humanitarian Trust took the initiative to keep alive the art of crafting toys.
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