Handpainted Tholu Bommalata leather hanging lamp from Andhra Pradesh. Material used - leather, iron frame, natural colors, bulb holder with plug and wire. Tholu Bommalata is the shadow puppet theatre tradition of the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. Tholu bommalata literally means "the dance of leather puppets" (tholu – "leather" and bommalata – "puppet dance") is a 2000 year old craft and is one of the oldest form of performing arts.. The traditional process of crafting shadow puppets requires 30-40 days, from the procurement of leather to the completion of the product. Two other kinds of shadow puppetry are practiced in Andhra Pradesh, the Sutram Bommalata (String puppets) and the Koyya Bommalata(Wooden puppets). The leather puppets, because of their transparency and jewel like glow, are most popular. The puppets are mounted in the middle on a palm stem, extended to form a handle used to move the body of the puppet. The puppets are painted with hands using natural and poster colours. But apart from the translucency and vivid colours, what gives these puppets their brilliance, is the perforated designs drawn on the characters to depict jewellery. Once surrounded by colour and viewed against the light, they look like glowing jewels.
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