Leather lamp shade

Leather lamp shade

The art of making Lampshades has its origin in Leather puppetry. This form of art popularly known as ‘Tholu Bommalata’ in Telugu is one of the earliest performing arts. Dating back to the 3rd century B.C. and reaching its pinnacle during the Vijayanagar Empire, these puppets are folk in style, conception and execution. The figures are made on goat leather. The advent of other modes of entertainment caused a decline in patronage of this art.

Puppeteers have channeled this art into the making of small vases, partition screens and wall decorations and lampshades. This helped expand the market, without disturbing the basic traditional character. The perforation executed on the colored leather gives an appearance of rich ornamentation against the background of light. The use of light to depict and narrate epics on screen and puppets modeled representing mythological characters created artistically out of leather have contributed to the uniqueness of these lampshades.

The creators of these puppets have discovered lampshades on leather to be the best medium to not only keep their traditions and art alive but also serve as a source of live hood. Though the medium of expression has changed, the form continues to be the same. The beautiful and colorful spectrum of lampshades depicting episodes from folklore, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Krishna leela and a host of other characters continue to a narrative form.

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