Channapatna toys are wooden toys (and dolls) that are originally from the town of Channapatna in the Bangalore Rural district of Karnataka state, India. Channapatna is known as Gombegala Ooru (toy-town) of Karnataka.
Approximately 200 years ago, Tipu Sultan of Mysore had invited Persian artisans to teach the art of toy making to locals. This tradition of toy making initially started with a locally available ‘Aale mara’ (ivory wood). It was turned, machined and finished on traditional lathe. They used vegetable colors and lac to color the toys with simple symmetrical forms.
This traditional craft is protected as Geographical Indication (GI) under the World Trade Organization(WTO). In the past couple of years, the art form did lose its sheen because of lack of innovation and cheaper Chinese made replicas invading the market.
Did you know that toys from Channapatna can be found in the White House?
Did you know that the toys of Channapatna feature in every major exhibition showcasing Indian crafts and goods?
Michelle Obama, during her recent trip to India was very impressed with these toys from Channapatna and bought some of them to take back to the White House as mementoes.
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