Wooden Toys of Kinhal, Karnataka

Wooden Toys of Kinhal, Karnataka Kinhal, a tiny village in Raichur district of Karnataka, has an immensely rich artistic heritage. It was once a flourishing centre for crafts, the most well-known being exquisite carvings in wood. The famous mural paintings in the Pampapateshwara temple and the intricate work on the wooden chariot at Hampi are said to be the work of the ancestors of the Kinhal artisans of today. Old paper tracings found in the ancestral house of one of the artisans further substantiates this belief.

At present, the artisans make wooden toys and other objects and decorate them beautifully. The artisans are called chitragars or makers of pictures. The lightweight wood used for the toys is polki, hale, or hirelevu. The paste used for joining the various parts is made of tamarind seeds and pebbles. Jute rags, soaked, slivered into pieces, dried, powdered, and mixed with saw dust and tamarind seed paste is made into kitta. A mixture of pebble powder paste with liquid gum is used for embossing the ornamentation and jewellery on the body of the figure. Once the components of the figure are assembled, kitta is applied by hand all over and small pieces of cotton are stuck on it with the tamarind paste. Over this is applied the pebble paste which forms the base for the application of paint. Many colours are used and the paint brush is made of squirrel tail. Previously toys depicting people involved in various occupations were popular";" now the preference is for figures, animals, and birds. Garuda, the epic bird, has 12 components while Lord Ganesha on a throne has 22 components. The styling is realistic and the designing and chiselling has a master touch. In the festival season, clay toys and images are made, often out of cowdung and sawdust.