Thursday, August 21, 2014

Golden Palanquin of Wodeyars

In a cob-webbed part of a storeroom deep in the warrens of the Mysore Palace lies a palanquin covered with burnished gold. On the penultimate day of the fortnight-long Dasara festivities it is this palanquin that would be placed in a carriage and conveyed to the great temple of the Goddess Chamundeswari on the Chamundi hill. There the Utsava murti of the Goddess would be, after performing several rituals accompanied by the chanting of incantations, placed in the palanquin and taken in procession to Devikere for float festival.

The same palanquin is also be used by members of the Mysore royalty on important occasions like birthday, upanayana, etc. Royal house extends the rare honour of the palanquin procession to the visiting pontiff of the Sringeri Mutth and the Rajaguru of the Parakala Mutth who is the spiritual guide of the Wodeyars.

This miniature model of the golden palanquin will be unveiled at the tenth edition of Bombe Mane on 4th September 2014. A limited edition of this model is available for the doll lovers who want to enrich their doll Dasara procession.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Silver Chariot

If you have been fortunate to attend and observe at close quarters the great Dasara festivities of the past and if not, you may have stood in the great courtyard to witness the last scion of the Wodeyar Royal family coming out of the palace sitting in silver carriage drawn by a pair of draught cattle on his way to worship the Shamee tree in the precincts of the Bhuvaneshwari temple in the Palace grounds. The cattle whose distinctive clean lines and white color marks them as belong to the famous Amrit Mahal cattle breed, a heritage breed of livestock of Karnataka.
Flanking the Prince’s carriage are liveried servitors who swirl silk cloth fans (udees pavaday), yet others whisking Yak hair.

A little digression here is needed. In the 40s and 50s, youngsters would be gifted Hornby toy train sets and one would added this and that till one had a full-fledged railway station with trains coming and going. The Dasara Procession doll set is something like that. You begin with the basic set piece and keep adding other pieces till you have your own customized Dasara processions.
Bombe Mane has created a replica of the silver carriage that could be a mantel piece, a talking point on your coffee-table---or form a part of the Dasara tableaux that you will be establishing in your den or wherever you find place. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mini Kitchen Set in Terracotta

Among numerous dolls representing every human activity, every human occupation, every festivity celebrated across the country comes this set of clay kitchen utensils proving beyond doubt that ‘Home is where the Hearth is.’ 

Along with doll toys, one set of toys that enchants every little girl and the grown-up young lady within whom a little girl lurks, is that of the kitchen set. This is a miniature pots and pans, ladles and plates affair and there would also be a miniature oven and fireplace.
The toy Kitchen set for girls is meant to recall memories of childhood. Arranging the kitchen set along with other dolls is an exercise in ingenuity and imagination. After all what this little girl is doing is what she may be doing in later years in spite of using a very prehensile thumb on the Ipad screen.
There are two kitchen sets on display. One in ochre-red earth and the other similarly painted one has been decorated with rangoli patterns.
This is a new addition to Bombe Mane 2014 which will go on display and sale from 5 September 2014.

You can find mini kitchen sets in solid brass and wood on display as well. Read about them here.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Navadurga Dolls

Devi Parvati or Durga is propitiated in nine different forms which chronicle nine phases of her life. These nine forms of Devi are collectively called as Nava Durga. Various scriptures, puranas and agamas list different versions of Nava Durga.
The first book of Sritattvanidhi, Shakti Nidhi, lists following Nava Durgas as per Shaivagama.  Śailaputrī, Brahmachāriṇī, Chandraghaṇṭā, Kuṣhmāṇḍā, Skandamātā, Kātyāyanī, Kālarātrī, Mahāgaurī and Siddhidātrī.
Each of these Nava Durga provides different spiritual benefits for a devotee. Together, these are worshipped during the Navaratri (Nine Nights) celebration in autumn. The first nine days of the bright lunar month of Ashwina (Ashwayuja) is celebrated as Sharannavaratri.

L-R: Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandakhanda
 1. Shailaputri
Among the Nava Durgas, the first one is Shailaputri. She is the ‘Daughter of the Mountain’; she is holding a trident and rides a bull, Vrushabha.

2. Brahmacharini
Goddess Brahmacharini is the second form of Durga. Unwavering in her austerities she is the paragon of devotion. She holds a rosary in her right hand and a water pot in the left. Bliss shines forth from her face. Worship of Brahmacharini fills the devotee with happiness, peace, prosperity and grace.

3. Chandakhanda (Chandraghanta)
Chandakhanda is the third form of Durga; she lifts her right hand in abhaya mudra offering protection. Eagle is her mount. A slayer of demons, Chandakhanda is repository of power and bestows bravery on her devotees.

L-R: Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayini
4. Kushmanda
Kushmanda is the fourth form of Durga. She holds a pumpkin and pot in her hands and is seen seated on a pedestal.

5. Skanda Mata
Skanda Mata is the fifth form of the Durga. She is the mother of Skanda (Kartikeya) who is seated on her lap. Skanda Mata sits on a throne and holds lotus in both her hands.

6. Katyayini
Katyayini is the sixth form of Durga. She rides a tiger and holds a sword, Chandrahasa.
L-R: Kalaratri, Mahagauri, Siddhidayini
 7. Kala Ratri
Kala Ratri, the seventh form of the Durga. This dark-complexioned Goddess sits on a throne.

8. Maha Gauri
Maha Gauri is the eighth form of Durga. This fair complexioned Goddess is seen dressed in white and riding an elephant. Her demeanor is calm, composed, intelligent and ever peaceful. She has her right hand in abhaya mudra.

9. Siddhidayini (Siddhidatri)
Siddhidatri is the ninth form of the Durga. Siddhidatri (Siddhi meaning ‘supernatural powers’ and Datri meaning ‘giver’) is the patron goddess of saints, yogis, siddha-purushas and all devotees seeking Siddhi.

Well known artist Sri K.S. Shreehari has done nine individual paintings of Nava Durga in traditional Mysore style based on the shlokas as given in Sritattvanidhi. These paintings are in the collection of Ramsons Kala Pratishtana (RKP). On request of RKP, art student Sri Ravish Kumar did line drawings based on these paintings. These drawings were given to the doll-makers at Cuddalore who created the dolls featured here, in clay.

This set of Nava Durga dolls is one of many new dolls that are specially created by RKP for Bombe Mane 2014.

In 2011 Bombe Mane, we had featured Navadurgas in the form of wooden Daiva (bhuta) figures of South Canara. You can read about it here.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Vasantotsava Vaibhava

There can be no existence without Shakti, ‘energy.’ Shakti, that  essential aspect of  existence, is the source of every animate and inanimate objects. Thus, veneration of Shakti during the first nine days of Hindu new year (Yugadi) is a very old tradition that lies buried in myth.

Let us recall that myth... King Dhruvasindhu of the Ikshvaku lineage dies leaving behind two wives. The first wife, Manorama's son Sudarshana is  to succeed his father according to regal laws. The second wife Leelavati's father Yudhajit stages a coup and places Leelavati's son Shatrujit on the throne. Manorama and Sudarshana are banished into the jungle. Though beset by trials and tribulations, the unwavering devotion of Manorama and Sudarshana, to the Supreme Mother Goddess Devi, is rewarded by a revelation of Her Grace. Blessed with Devi’s grace Sudarshana, defeats Yudhajit in a battle and regains the throne. To commemmorate his victory, Sudarshana begins the nine-day worship to Devi during lunar month of Chaitra in Spring.

After several millennia of the continued tradition of Vasanta Navaratri, there occurs change which is brought about by Sri Rama who belongs to the same lineage. To defeat the mighty Ravana, Sri Rama seeks the blessings of Devi. It is autumn and Rama invokes Devi and offers her similar worship that was offered to her during Vasanta Navaratri.

The ultimate defeat of Ravana results in an identical worship of Devi during autumn (lunar month of Ashvayuja). Continued over time, it gains popularity and Vasanta Navaratri is relegated to background. But nevertheless, Vasanta Navaratri is an inextricable part of Vasantotsava.

Vasantotsava, the celebratory rite of  the Spring begins with Holi, the festival of colours. This is nature which joyfully regenerates Herself with renewed vigor. The God of Love, Manmatha, triggers the bounty of Spring with his bow of sugarcane and arrow of flowers. Hence wood or clay dolls of Manmatha and his consort Rati are worshipped. This tradition is prevalent in Hubli and its neighbouring districts in North Karnataka during Holi through Ranga Panchami. A gigantic effigy of Manmatha, with a naughty epithet Kaamanna, is consigned to the fire whose flames rise to the skies. This flaming fire is symbolic of an enraged Shiva who reduces Manmatha to ashes with the blazing gaze of his third eye.

Beginning from the third day after Yugadi, a beautiful doll of a divine damsel, clad in saree, standing upright and holding a mango in an outstretched hand is installed in many households in North Karnataka and southern Maharashtra. She is Chaitra Gauri... the Fair damsel of Spring. This doll is often made out of light wood and is brightly painted. There is also an interesting parallel tradition during same time and in the same region and that is Tottilu Gauri. A doll of Gauri, seated on a swing within a decorated canopy is venerated until Akshaya Tritiya. Rati-Manmatha, Kaamanna, Chaitra Gauri and Tottilu Gauri are forms of doll traditions.

There’s much more but suffice to say that India is rich with myriad doll traditions which vary from region to region. Bombe Mane has been introducing such doll traditions in each of its exhibitions. This year's Bombe Mane features Vasantotsava in all its aspects.

Kinhala artists Dharmanna Chitragar (wooden Rati Manmatha dolls), Ekappa Chitragar (Chaitra Gauri and Tottilu Gauri figures), Kishor Chitragar (Kinhala Chaukis), Annappa Chitragar (wooden head of Kamanna), K.V. Shankar of Hubli (six canvases of Ranga Panchami festival), K.S. Shreehari of T. Narasipura (Mysore style paintings of Navadurga, Rati and Manmatha),  J.S. Sridhar Rao of Mysore (Mysore style painting of Kamakameshwari), National awardee A. Sekar of Puducherry (papier machie model of Mysore's Royal Golden Throne) and Kartikeyan of Cuddalore (dolls of Navadurga in papier machie) - all these artists have contributed to bring together the visual extravaganza of Vasantotsava.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Silver Jubilee Clock Tower of Mysore

The iconic clock tower (Dodda Gadiyaara) of Mysore which marked the Silver Jubilee of the Coronation of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV (coronated in 1902) was inaugurated in 1927. This landmark lies within an arm's distance of Dewan Rangacharlu Memorial Town Hall and is bang opposite the Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar Circle. 

Bombe Mane 2013 will feature hand carved wooden models of the clock tower in two sizes - 10" and 24". The one featured here is the latter.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Mysore Couple - Channapatna Dolls

The design wing of Ramsons Kala Pratishtana is an one-man-army and yours truly is its whole and soul. I have designed few dolls to be developed in Channapatna lacquerware craft form. Last year I had posted the dolls of Krishna. Now I am posting the dolls - Mysore Couple. In a doll festival, dolls of man and wife is considered important. They also represent the King and Queen.

I have designed the man wearing panche (veshti) and shalya. the thing about the shalya (uttareeya) is that he is wearing it in unique Mysore style across his naked upper torso.He also wears a Mysore peta. But because of the limitation of the craft form, the peta had to be changed, which looks like a Kodava peta.

I designed the lady with a side head bun, but again the limitation of the craft form came in the way. But she is wearing the unique Mysore style gatti thaali which has been painted on the doll.

Here is the design that I created on my system, following that is the picture of the dolls created from my design. Please give me your valuable comments.

Design given by me

End product