KATPUTLI - PUPPETS
- THE CRAFT OF making puppets,or katputli, was practiced by the Putlis Bhats
- Tribes of Rajasthan have been performing this art from the ancient times and it has become an eternal part of Rajasthani culture and tradition.
(II[P) - THE CRAFT OF making puppets,or katputli, was practiced by the Putlis Bhats, a community of performing artists who travelled from village to village with their portable theatres entertaining gatherings with depictions of the exploits of local heroes in exchange for remuneration in cash,livestock or a portion of the patron`s harvest.As this form of entertainment gained popularity with the royal courts,the Putli Bhat community settled in different kingdoms developing puppets in the image of the ruler,the queen and members of court such as the court dancer,acrobats,snake charmers,magicians and ministers;and a narrative repertoire based on tales of the king`s bravery,kindness and numerous conquests.
1 The snake charmer,depicted with his tools of trade.
2 craftsman manipulates the magician puppet,so that its head detached itself from its body.
3 A musician puppet
4 The puppet representing a Rajput has a shield and sword, symbols of the martial aristrocrary of Rajasthan.
5 The raja-rani puppets,the highest selling katputli in the craftsman`s repertoire
Some scholars believe Kathputli art tradition is more than thousands years old. One finds its reference in Rajasthani folk tales, ballads and sometimes even in folk songs.Similar puppets which are rod-puppets, are also found in west Bengal. But it is truly rajasthan's amazing kathputli which made India one of the first countries to invent its traditional puppetry .Tribes of Rajasthan have been performing this art from the ancient times and it has become an eternal part of Rajasthani culture and tradition. No village fair, no religious festival and no social gathering in Rajasthan can be complete without the Kathputlis. It is believed that somewhere 1500 years ago, tribal Rajasthani Bhat community started the use of Kathputli as string marionette art and it is in their love for tradition that art of Kathputli survived the test of time. Tradition of Kathputli is based on folk tales and stories. Scholars believe that folk tales convey the lifestyle of ancient Rajasthani tribal people and Kathputli art might have originated from present day Nagaur and surrounding areas.Rajasthani Kings and nobles were patrons of Art and Craft and they encouraged the craftsmen in activities ranging from wood and marble carving to weaving, pottery and painting. Over the last 500 years, Kathputli was a system of patronage supported by kings and well-off families. The patrons would look after the artists in return for the artists singing praises of the patrons’ ancestors. Bhat community claim that their ancestors had performed for royal families, and received great honour and prestige from the rulers of Rajasthan.