So now, as I promised in my previous blog, I’m going to tell you about the structure of these puppets. The brightly coloured Andhra leather puppets are the largest among various shadow puppet styles. They range from 4-6 feet in height and are quite versatile, having jointed shoulders, elbows, knees and sometimes also the waist, neck and ankles.

These puppets are made of leather. Earlier deer, antelope and goat skins were used to make puppets but nowadays only goat skin is being used. Earlier the figures representing godly characters were being made of deer and antelope skin. The practice is now not followed due to laws against hunting of deers and antelopes. Let’s now study the uses of these leathers

  • Antelope skin- It was reserved for making a limited number of auspicious characters such as gods and epic heroes.
  • Deer skin-It was known for its strength and resistance to rough handling and is therefore used for the figures of warrior Bhima and the ten headed demon king Ravana.
  • Goat skin-All other puppets are made from goat skin since it is cheaper and readily available locally.

 

FUN FACT

Most puppets are made from a single skin, though some require more. At least 4 skins are necessary for Ravana- one for his legs, one for his body and one to make each set of five arms. .

 

With this I’ll end this blog, but don’t forget to check out the next blog for more such fun facts.

 

References:

Jiwan, P. (1986). Living dolls- story of Indian puppets. Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of I; First Edition edition (1986)

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