Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Andhra Pradesh


Butta Bommalata

Marionette play is the oldest surviving art form in India. The marionette's or puppets are made of different materials. Butta Bommalu are made of bamboo, tamarind seed paste, paper, cattle dung or husk and hay. The figures are coloured according to the tradition and used for plays.

It is made up to waist only and hollow inside. The dolls are three to four times bigger than the human figures.  A coloured cloth is tied around the doll at the waist that covers the player who enter into it. There is a hole in the doll at the navel through which the artiste can see the outside world. Figures of Siva and Parvati ,Vishnu and Lakshmi, Garuda and Hanuman, Radha and Krishna are very common in Butta Bommalata. It is presented at festive gatherings, car festivals, marriage  ceremonies, Navaratri celebrations, Ganesh  immersion  festivals and recently in election campaigns. These puppets are large enough to serve as full  masks for men and women who dance to the rhythm of a Dappu or Mridangam. Band, Dhole, Sonnayi are used as accompaniments in the Butta Bommalata. The troupe consist of at least ten members four of whom are in the puppets and dance, four who play instruments, one instructor and the troupe leader. This is only a dumb dance, accompanied only by the sounds of instruments.