Lacquer Toys Varanasi
As the years are passing by, we are getting more and more accustomed to easy living. In today’s world the age old tradition, arts and crafts have become pale before the polished cheap plastic articles.
These colourful yet cheap plastic toys have replaced the traditional handicrafts and are a huge loss to the handicraft industry. This article is an attempt to rejuvenate and revive the lost tradition and illuminate certain facts about the famous Etikoppaka Toys.
India is a good producer of Lac and its products and Laccapalli is famous for these products. Along the banks of river Varaha, on a hill stream there exists a serene village Etikoppaka, a place where cottage industry flourished over time.
The place is famous for manufacturing Lac toys which were once widely preferred by parents to gift their children. The place is famous for making colourful miniature pillars, decorative arches and jharokas which are assembled together to make elaborate temple carts.
They receive bulk article order from temples like Kanchipuram, Tanjore and Puri. Also for girl children specific toys are made which are called as Lakkapidathalu which includes small kitchen items, stove, grinder, cooking vessels etc.
At one point of time, the manufacturing of these toys declined rapidly. The main reason behind this was usage of chemical dyes to make the products look attractive and also the wood that was used to make these products got scarce and hence the forest department prevented them from collecting wood.
Due to the chemical dyes used, the exports to European countries and elsewhere got rejected as amounts of toxic substance was found in dyes while testing the products.
It was then, Mr. Raju, a local landlord who himself is an artisan made efforts to overcome the issues pertaining to decline. He did extensive research work on dyes and their properties to blend suitably with lac.
During his research he realized and obtained a new range of attractive blends such as ochre, olive green, turquoise and Indigo blue which could rival the most dashing of chemical dyes. These new blends have given the wooden artifacts an exquisite luster and vibrancy.
Today, the Etikoppaka artifact, tinted with oxidized lacquer, and given a final flourish with a mogali reku (kevda leaf), is a thing of beauty, and a sight for sore eyes. The subdued elegance and the range of colours of the article is quite stunning.
They make a whole new range of articles like table lamps, curtain rods, pens, pen stands, candle sticks, mobiles, bangles, ear rings, key chains, and a variety of other decorative items. Today some twenty odd families are engaged in the art.