Thanjavur, previously called Tanjore, is called the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu in India because of its paintings, classical dance and music. And Tanjore Dancing Dolls, a unique form of traditional Indian art, originated here. Tanjore dolls are handcrafted with meticulous attention to detail and are renowned for their vibrant colors, intricate designs, and graceful movements. In this blog post, we will explore the history, significance, and craftsmanship behind these mesmerizing dolls.
What are Tanjore Dancing Dolls?
Tanjore Dancing Dolls are also known as Tanjore dolls or Thanjavur Thalayatti Bommai.
The dolls are known for their unique feature of bobbing heads, which gives them the name "Dancing Dolls or Thalayatti Bommai". The dolls are designed in such a way that their heads, hands, and the entire body can be moved. This allows the dolls to mimic the graceful movements of a classical dancer and hence are often depicted in classical dance poses, capturing the grace and beauty of Indian dance forms such as Bharatanatyam, Manipuri and Kathakali.
History and Significance
The art of making the Thanjavur Bommais dates back to the 17th century during the reign of the Maratha ruler, King Serfoji II. The dolls were originally created as decorative pieces for the royal court and were considered a symbol of wealth and prosperity. Over time, the art form gained popularity among the general public, and Tanjore Dolls became a cherished item in households, often passed down through generations.
They are often displayed during the festival of Navratri, where a series of dolls are arranged in a step-like manner known as "Golu". These Golu dolls hold great cultural and religious significance. It is believed that the presence of the Golu bommais in homes or offices brings prosperity, happiness, and good luck.
The Craftsmanship Behind Tanjore Dancing Dolls
The creation of these traditional Tamil dolls is a labor-intensive process that requires great skill and precision. The dolls are made by skilled artisans who have inherited the art form from their ancestors. These Butta Bomma dolls are basically made using terracotta clay and papier mache and are purely handmade and hand painted by skilled artists.
Gift with a Cultural Touch
Called as Bommalu in Telugu, Bommarillu in Kannada and Bomma in Malayalam, these dolls make excellent gifts for various occasions, especially for those who appreciate art and culture. They are often given as traditional Tamil gifts during weddings, housewarming ceremonies and other celebrations. There is high demand for these paper mache dolls from NRIs. They take them as gifts for their friends abroad. When presented as corporate gifts, these traditional dolls not only serve as a token of appreciation but also create a lasting impression on clients and employees.
For those looking for distinctive return gifts, these Bobblehead dolls are an excellent choice. Whether it is a wedding, a birthday party, or any other event, these dolls add a touch of tradition and elegance to the occasion. Guests will appreciate the thoughtfulness and uniqueness of these gifts, making them a memorable keepsake.
In conclusion, Thanjavur Thalayatti Bommai dolls are not just mere decorative items; they are a symbol of tradition, craftsmanship, and cultural heritage. These exquisite dolls have stood the test of time and continue to captivate art enthusiasts and collectors around the world. Whether you are a connoisseur of Indian art or simply appreciate the beauty of handcrafted objects, Tanjore dancing dolls are sure to leave a lasting impression. If you are interested in these colorful Navaratri bommais, please click here to buy Poikkal Kuthirai dolls, the GI tagged Raja Rani dolls, Chettiyar and Achi Dolls and more from Smris.