The fame of wooden dolls and toys of Kondapally is spread all over Andhra Pradesh. Stylised in form and colour, they are crafted by artisans known as arya kshatriyas
. Using a soft wood called poniki,
the themes crafted include everyday scenes from village life, figures of deities including the dasha avataras
(ten divine manifestations of Vishnu), birds and animals. The figures are extremely well formed and are sometimes made in large sizes also. The style is realistic and great attention is given to the smallest detail. The painted faces are expressive and each figure has a distinct identity and beauty.
Process and Techniques
Each piece of poniki wood is first heated slowly to draw out all the moisture. This wood - as light as air - is easily malleable; it is sold by the head load and prices range from approximately Rs 200 per head load for larger pieces of poniki to Rs 150 per head load for smaller pieces. The tools used by the artisan are rudimentary and include three sizes of saws and a hammer, with chisels and files used for the final finishing.
The artisan first carves the main portion of the figure. At the next stage every limb is separately crafted and then joined to the main body with an adhesive paste made of tamarind seeds. The entire figure is then g...
Andhra Pradesh, Dolls, Kondapally, Toys, Wood, Wooden Lacquerware