A Perfect Balance of Craft With Science
History of Thanjavur Bommai
Thanjavur Bommai (Thanjavur Dolls) were originated in Thanjavur, an ancient capital of the mighty Cholas and its history dates back to time immemorial even more ancient than the Greek and Roman history. This city was earlier known as Tanjore. It is now the district head quarters of the Thanjavur in the state of Tamilnadu in India and is known as the rice bowl of South India.
During the l6th Century, Thanjavur was ruled by Nayaks, who were the contemporary of Queen Elizabeth – I, in whose reign, Sir Issac Newton had made it known the force of gravity, through an act of serendipity, involving falling apple. Even before the advent of Nayaks, Thanjavur Dolls were being made in the Tanjore. It shows and makes abundantly clear that, the makers of Tanjore Dolls are more scientifically enlightened than the English and in particular Newton, even before their scientific era.
The scientific temper of Tamilians was at its height during and aftermath of the Chola Empire and are the product of that era of enlightenment.
The globally acclaimed Tanjore Bommai are made with plaster of Paris, Wood pulp and, of course, the clay, obtained on the river banks of Cauvery. The Tanjore Bommai, which are produced based on gravitational force, used to be produced in pairs i.e… Raja and Rani.
Generally, women folk are involved in the making of Thanjavur Dolls.
Method of Production
These globally celebrated Thanjavur Bommai are traditionally handmade. They are made up of Plaster of Paris, Wood Pulp and, of course, the clay found on the river banks of Cauvery. Presently, Tanjore Dolls are produced by using Plaster of Paris, Wood Pulp, and Tuber-Flour.
The plaster of Paris is ground well. The plaster of Paris and Paper (Wood) pulp are immersed in the ratio of 1:3 along with the required tuber flour (Sago) and they are bundled into dough like a “poori” flour. The same is put in the dye, meant for producing patterns. The dye-cast figurine is let to dry in shade for half an hour. Later on, the dye cast figurine is affixed with papers and let to try for 1 1/2 hours.
Then two parts of the dolls are fixed and let to dry. After that the doll is given a coat of flour, filling any gap left in the doll. Later on, clay is added on the bottom. Once it is dried, the doll is painted. After that the doll is given final touch on the plate.
It takes almost a week to produce a Thanjavur Doll. The Tanjore Dolls are sold out at the entrance of the Big Temple, Tanjore. In fact, a visit to a big temple is not said to be fulfilled without ever buying a Tanjore doll.
These dolls can be used to decorate the house or give away as gifts and are mostly used as children’s toys.
Thanjavur Bommai Price varies depending upon the size of the doll.
Thanjavur Dolls - Elegance in Motion
The center of gravity and total weight of the Thanjavur Doll is concentrated at its bottom-most point, generating a dance-like continuous movement with slow oscillations.
The Tanjore Dolls are done only in Raja – Rani pair and in no other motifs the dolls are ever made into.
When we force the Dolls to lay on the ground, they will be defiant and stand erect. This is an artistic feature which is a subject of surprise.
The Tanjore Dolls are said to be attracted the attention of children worldwide, for it comes to be static, when a mischievous child tries to push it, to make it flat.
Symbol of Bravery
It is said that the Thanjavur Dolls are come into the limelight during the reign of the Great Marattas.
It is used to be said that Tanjore is the symbol of bravery and these dolls are made only to show that we would not succumb even if we fall.
Thanjavur Dolls are the unique creations of artisans, living around Tanjore incorporating the concept of the gravitational force, even before and in fact very earlier than the period of discovery made by Sir Issac Newton.
The alluvial soil and clay obtained from the bank of River Cauvery enhances the utility value of Thanjavur Dolls to a greater extent and it serves as a weight to pull the dolls to stand erect when we force the dolls to lay on the ground.
What makes Thanjavur Dolls so special?
So, what is so special about these handmade Thanjavur Bommai or Thanjavur Dolls, and how is it different from those made of machines?
Authentic Thanjavur Bommai is a perfect measure of Balance with Gravity and the repulsive nature of magnetic fields that allows these clay sculptures to stand back when hit with no strings and springs attached to it.
These are not just a combination of Pulp and Clay, it is Ancient Science.
Three separate moulds are combined to form a single Thanjavur Doll.
GI TAGGED Thanjavur Bommai
Although the Original Maker of the Thanjavur doll remains hidden in mystery, it is the people of Thanjavur who kept the craft alive for centuries and is definitely the most deserved handicraft product allocated with prestigious GI Tagged Status.
Thanjavur Doll has been Conferred with the Geographical Indication (GI) status by the Government of India in 2008 with GI Number 89.
Where to buy Thanjavur Bommai?
Our company, GI TAGGED offers Authentic Thanjavur Dolls Online, procured directly from the artisans of the Thanjavur, Tamilnadu. Also, you can visit our handicrafts showroom to buy Thanjavur Dolls in Bangalore.
Shop for Thanjavur Bommai Online Here.
For Thanjavur Dolls Wholesale enquiries, mail us at [email protected].