Nitin Singhania: Summary of Indian Puppetry Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

UPSC: Nitin Singhania: Summary of Indian Puppetry Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

The document Nitin Singhania: Summary of Indian Puppetry Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course History for UPSC CSE.
All you need of UPSC at this link: UPSC

Introduction

  • Ancient form of entertainment.
  • One of the most ingenious inventions of mankind.


Indian Origin

  • For entertainment and educational purposes.
  • Excavation sites at Harappa & Mohenjo-Daro- puppets with sockets attached to them found.
  • Around 500 B.C- references of marionette theatre found.Marionette Theatre 
    Marionette Theatre 
  • Oldest written reference to puppetry- Tamil classic Silappadikaram (written around 1st & 2nd century B.C.)
  • It has been of philosophical importance in Indian culture.
  • Bhagwata, describes God as a puppeteer, controlling the universe with the three strings - Satta, Raja & Tama. In Indian theatre, narrator was called Sutradhar or ‘holder of strings’.
  • Variety of puppetry traditions have developed ill various parts across India but lack of devoted audience and financial security has led to a steady decline of this art form in modern times.

Puppetry in India can be classified into four categories as follows:

1. String puppet

  • Kathputli
  • Kundhei
  • Gombeyatta
  • Bommalattam

2. Shadow puppet

  • Tholu Bommalata
  • Ravanchhaya
  • Togalu Gombeyatta

3. Glove puppet

  • Pavakoothu

4. Rod puppet

  • Yampuri
  • Putul Nach

Try yourself:The oldest written reference to puppeting is found in -
View Solution

String Puppets

(a) Important Features

  • Puppets are 8-9 inch miniature figures chiselled out of wood.
  • Oil colour is used to paint the wood.
  • Small wooden pipes used to form limbs.
  • Body is covered with colourful miniature dress and stitched.
  • Miniature jewellery and other accessories are also used.
  • Strings are attached to small holes in the hands, head and back of the body

(b) Popular Examples

(i) KathputliKathputliKathputli

  • Traditional string puppets of Rajasthan.
  • ‘Kath’ means wood & ‘putli’ means doll.
  • Covered in traditionally bright Rajasthani dress.
  • Accompanied by dramatic folk music.
  • Unique feature- Absence of legs.

(ii) Kundhei

KundheiKundhei

  • String puppets of Odisha.
  • Made of light wood & are dressed in long skirts.
  • Have more joints, thus more flexibility.
  • Strings attached to a triangular prop.
  • Marked influence of Odissi on these shows.

(iii) GombeyattaTogalu GombeyattaTogalu Gombeyatta

  • Karnataka
  • Styled on various characters of Yakshagana theatres.
  • Unique feature- more than one puppeteer is used.

(iv) Bommalattam

BommalattamBommalattam

  • Tamil Nadu
  • Combines features of rod and string puppetry.
  • Strings attached to an iron ring, worn by puppeteer on his head.
  • These are the largest & heaviest marionettes found in India.
  • These could be as large as 4.5 ft in height & 10 kg in weight.
  • Four distinct stages - Vinayak Puja, Komali, Amanattam & Pusenkanattam.

Try yourself:Consider the following statements about Indian puppetry
1. The narrator is called sutradhar
2. Kathputli is a string puppet
Which of the above is/ are correct?
View Solution

 Shadow Puppets

  • Has survived till now.

(a) Important Features

  • These are flat figures cut out of leather.
  • Painted identically on both sides of the leather.
  • Placed on a white screen with light falling from behind, creating a shadow on the screen.
  • Figures are manipulated so that the silhouettes created on the blank screen create telling imagery.

Try yourself:Absence of legs is a unique feature of
View Solution

(b) Popular Examples

(i) Togalu Gombeyatta

  • Karnataka
  • Unique feature - Variation of puppet size based on social status, i.e. kings &religious figures are large puppets while common people & servants are smaller puppets.

(ii) RavanachhayaRavanachhayaRavanachhaya

  • Most theatrical of shadow puppetry.
  • Odisha
  • Made of deerskin & depict bold, dramatic postures.
  • Do not have any joints attached to them, making it complex.
  • Use of non-human puppets like trees & animals.
  • Ravanchhaya artists- create a lyrical & sensitive theatrical narration.

(iii) Tholu BommalataTholu BommalataTholu Bommalata

  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Accompanied by classical music.
  • Themes- mythological & devotional tales of epics and Puranas.
  • Puppets are larger in size & coloured on both sides.

Try yourself:Yampuri is a
View Solution

 Glove Puppets

(a) Important Features

  • Also known as sleeve, hand or palm puppets.
  • Small figures with head & arms wearing a long, flowing skirt.
  • Made of cloth or wood, but variations of paper puppet also seen.
  • Puppeteer wears puppet as glove, manipulating the head with his index finger.
  • Two hands are manipulated using thumb & middle finger - giving life and expression to originally limp puppets.
  • Accompanied by rhythmic beats of drum or dholak.

(b) Popular Examples

(i) Pavakoothu

  • Kerala
  • Origin- 18th century A.D.
  • Decorated with colourful headgears, feathers & face paints, which depicts heavy influence of Kathakali.
  • Themes: Ramayana & Mahabharata.

Try yourself:Which of the following is not correctly matched?
View Solution

 Rod Puppets

(a) Important Features

  • Larger variations of glove puppet.
  • Controlled by rods.
  • Popular in Eastern India.

(b) Popular Examples

(i) YampuriYampuriYampuri

  • Bihar
  • Made of wood & are without joints.
  • Carved out of a single piece of wood & painted and dressed in bright colours.

(ii) Putul NachPutul NachPutul Nach

  • Bengal-Odisha-Assam region.
  • 3-4 ft. high & dressed like characters of Jatra.
  • Have three joints - at neck & at the shoulders.
  • Each puppeteer controls a single puppet by means of a rod attached to his waist. He moves around behind the curtain, imparting similar movements to puppets.
  • Accompanied by musical troop of 3-4 musicians playing harmonium, cymbals & tabla.

Try yourself:Which of the following is not correctly matched?
View Solution

The document Nitin Singhania: Summary of Indian Puppetry Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course History for UPSC CSE.
All you need of UPSC at this link: UPSC
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