Kinhal (kinnALa) is a small village,
about 13 kilometers away from Koppal the district headquarters. It is well
known for the manufacture of wooden toys and other arte facts, from the
sixteenth century. It is practiced by a few families who are known as
‘chitragars’. (Painters) They claim that their ancestors migrated from
These craftsmen manufacture idols of Gods, animal toys, crowns and masks used in dramas, panels painted with mythological themes, cradles and furniture. However Kinhal craft is now famous for the life like replicas of fruits and vegetables. These are manufactured from soft wood such as drumstick wood.
Actually, the manufacture of these toys is a complicated process. Various parts of the product are joined together with a paste made of Tamarind seeds and pebbles. Once the task of assembling the parts is over a mixture called ‘kiTTA’ is applied all over on the toy, by hand. ‘kiTTa’ is a churned mixture of jute rags soaked in water, saw dust and Tamarind powder paste. After the application of ‘kiTTa’, the ornaments and jewelry are embossed on the body of the toy with the help of pebble powder paste and liquid gum. Another layer of pebble powder paste on the kiTTa completes the basic process and the toy is now ready for painting with bright coloured organic dyes. Vegetal and mineral colours like ochre, brick red, deep green, white, black and lapis were the base colours used to develop other shades. Of late, the artists have started using synthetic colours. Toys depicting artisans such as a carpenter or a balcksmith was once a specialty of these artists. Their style is very realistic, particularly so when it comes to fruits and vegetables. There are instances of a Ganesha statue containing 22 components. Some times, even lowly material such as cow dung and sawdust are used to manufacture these toys.
Kinhal as mentioned earlier is not confined to toys and vegetable replicas. The range of their products included large wooden idols and murals, (Jaya-Vijaya, dashAvatAra, kAma-rati and many village deities) palanquins and decorative umbrellas and decorative plates.
Recently Crafts Council of Karnataka has taken up a project to
reinstate the glory of Kinhal craft in collaboration with student volunteers