Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tholu Bommalattha: Andhra Shadow Puppets

In a village outside of Dharmavaram, Andhra Pradesh, Dalavai Chalapathi Rao and I laugh as we play with a giant Hanuman shadow puppet. Though Tholu Bommalattha (Andhra Shadow Puppetry) may be considered a dying artform, it's alive and well in this village.

The large puppets, which are made from goat skin, are painted and holes are punched with custom tools (pictured above).

Whole extended families are involved in puppet making, music, performance and the associated crafts that the artists sell at crafts fairs.

Our hosts brought us into a dark room and gave us a shadow puppet show with the light pouring through the window. The coordination of the music with the brightly colored puppets made for quite a show. I'm planning to bring the Shadow Liberation team here in July! (photo credits Sudebi Thakurata.)

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