An evergreen classic.
By Richa Hegde
IIntricate workmanship, beautiful designs in vibrant colours and pulsating patterns on wood…. Each craft in Kinhal narrates a story of its own. For centuries in Kinhal, craftsmen have laboured patiently making beautiful objects on wood and clay carved so delicately that you would hardly think that a human hand could do it.
Kinhal craft is a unique traditional wooden craft local to the town of Kinhal in the Koppal district of North Karnataka. The town has an immensely rich artistic heritage and is especially popular for exquisite carvings on wood, painted scrolls, religious idols and Kinhal toys. The history of these vivid pieces of art goes back to the history of the famous mural paintings found in the Pampapateshwara temples and the intricate work done on the chariot in Hampi. Since that time, Kinhal art is being practised. The artists have beautifully carried this art form through different generations and kept it alive even today.
Uniqueness of Kinhal Art
Kinhal art can be easily differentiated from other forms of art by its intricate designs. The beautiful designs and patterns on wall mounts, dolls, cradles and swings are breathtaking.
The light-weight wooden toys overflow the bazaars in Kinhal. The toys depict the local life of the people involved in various occupations. Especially the figures of many colourful birds, exotic animals, mythological gods and goddesses, creepers, flowers and fruits are found in many astonishing varieties of design. The artists or chitragars are also called the makers of pictures. They use a special type of paste made of tamarind seeds and pebbles to join the pieces of wood. Brushes made of squirrel’s tails are used to do delicate paintings and colours are often made of herbs and coloured stones too. The styling is realistic and the designing has a master touch unique to this form of art and craft. During festivals, toys are made by artisans and decorated beautifully even on clay. The images are made even out of cow dung and sawdust.
Similarly, like the wooden toys, the religious idols too are portrayed in many astonishing patterns. Some of the beautiful formats are Bal Ganesh on a leaf, big idols of goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati, Lord Garuda and Lord Ganesh sitting on a throne. The other exquisite ones are murals and paintings displaying Puranic themes and perpetuating historical and cultural lore. These are favourite wallhangings and showpieces among art lovers.
Due to negligence, Kinhal art was on a path of decline. But recently, by adopting Kinhal art in their syllabus, some of the art schools have provided a fresh lease of life to this alluring art form.
The abundance of crafts in our country is something we should be proud of and Kinhal is undoubtedly the repository of such timeless crafts.