Leather Puppets Play

Art & Culture


In Karnataka there are two major varieties in the leather puppet shows, depending on the size of the puppets.

(1) Chikka Togalu Gombeyaata (small leather puppet play).

(2) Dodda Togalu Gombeyaata (life size or larger leather puppet play)

Each variety shows several regional variations in the style of music, craftsmanship, stage technique and manipulation.

Leather puppeteers are scattered all over the interior of Karnataka and other Dravidian states. They have vivid name for shadow theater or leather puppet play. In North Karnataka the leather puppeteers are called “Killikyaata’s”.

The puppeteers of the small leather puppet theater performers use kannada language and in a box stage manipulator sits behind the screen, raise the puppets held in their hands. During the performance men, women, children, the whole community of the artiste, take part.

The average dimensions of the leather puppet stage 12 feet in length, 6 feet in width. The small puppets players have their own mobile stage measures 9 feet and5 feet only.

The visible portion in front where a white screen tied up. Behind the screen the manipulator sits and manipulates the epic characters from behind the screen. Behind the curtain the hands of the manipulators remain unseen. On front of the stage the puppeteers family or associate sits and give chorus and exchange dialogue with drum beater.

In the projected light sources the leather puppets shadow appears with beautiful color.


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