Dolls-Keeping Alive the Glory of Tribal Traditions
Customary dolls made by our tribes are not only a depiction of our nation but also the representation of its history, culture, time and rich heritage. Artists have since ages drawn inspiration from tradition, religion and nature as could be seen in their artwork. The medium of expression however has diffused from stone, mammoth ivory and animal bones to cloth, coir and jute. Dolls or toys of varied types have for generations fascinated men, women and children around the world. It has been a source of great fun and delight particularly for kids and has also helped them in developing their imagination and intellect.
The story of India from primeval times to modern is portrayed through a series of doll that provides a glimpse of India’s rural life. The vividness of tribal culture from Kalbelia dance to playing of Tumda can all be seen through these dolls who act like a cultural ambassador showcasing and familiarizing the people with uniqueness and exuberance of our indigenous communities.
Tribals in their art of doll making locally termed as ‘Adivasi Gudiya Hastashilp’ has made use of metal, wood, clay, cloth, jute, coir and in fact many such irregular materials depending upon the state they were crafted in. While Assam brings in figurines crafted using Croatia. Madhya Pradesh is popular for dolls characterized by a spectrum of colours, adorned with tribal jewelries and typical tribal wedding attire, these dolls vary in size and can go up to being as tall as a little girl. Commonly known as Jhabua dolls, they are a beautiful illustration of community folks and their historical significance. They also make for a unique piece of ethnic themed home décor. The silver jewellery and bead work featured by them find roots in the life of rural women who generally lack storage space. The male counterparts on the other hand are dressed in Dhoti-Kurta carrying Teer-Kamathi which highlights hunting and gathering as primitive occupation of the tribe. Aadi Mahotsav an annual Nation Tribal Festival organized by TRIFED under the brand name of Tribes India features a dedicated stall for Jhabua dolls which can also be turned into a unique gift using customizable gift packs by TribesIndia. Apart from these other states like Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan also have their unique fashion of toys crafted out of sikki (grass), mixture of cowdung, wood, sawdust and similar material.
The exemplary aesthetic appeal of this art and the opportunity it brings to the backward tribal communities has driven the government to promote this art form, which already is a unique selling point for the region and holds the potential to become a niche in the segment of Indian handicrafts. Tribes India provides the visibility to the unseen talent of the underprivileged segment of the society and their undermined entrepreneurial acumen.