Dolls & Toys of Bihar & Jharkhand

Dolls & Toys of Bihar & Jharkhand


Dolls and toys in Bihar are made with different materials such as clay, cloth, and wood, with each material having its own style and designated areas where the the craft is practised. The making of clay toys and images is a seasonal craft. Votive images, dolls, and figures of animals are all made during the festive period. During Shyama Chak the entire story of the festival is narrated through clay dolls and images built around Shyama or Krishan. Clay toys in abstract folk styles --- like elephants and dancing figures --- are also crafted by the potters. The toys of Darbhanga, especially the horse and rider, are well-known. When the festival season is over, the artisans busy themselves with making domestic utility articles. Many young girls and housewives make cloth dolls as a fruitful pastime, and are particularly active during festivals and fairs. Waste pieces of cloth are used as the raw materials, an important reason for these toys being so inexpensive. Typical cloth dolls of Bihar represent couples, though Adivasi (aboriginal) dolls and their dances are also popular. The features, especially the eyes and the mouths, of the dolls are outlined with black lines. The Chota Nagpur and Ranchi areas are also known for their wooden toys. The most common figures are the mother and child and Raja-Rani that are painted on wood. The toys are notable for their artistic vigour. Many animal figures connected to rituals, acquered wooden toys modelled on folk tradition animals, birds, fish and bird figures are all carved. There is also a variety of toys made from bamboo. Ranchi has very unusual toys. They are completely abstract forms of wood with features painted on them to look like humans or other life forms. Brass and bell metal toys are now restricted to only animals.

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