As early as the twelfth century, the art of puppetry flourished in Andhra Pradesh, narrating stories of divinity, sometimes taking the divine dimensions itself. Stories from the great epics Ramayana and Mahabharata were performed and went on for several nights.
The puppet shows had something for everyone – divine epics for the devout; and comic relief for the distracted. Puppetry is still practiced today, especially during festival occasions, although not many puppeteers practice this art nowadays.
Leather shadow puppetry of Andhra Pradesh is known as Tholu Bommalata, (Tholu – leather, Bommalata – puppet dance). Two other kinds of shadow puppetry are practiced in Andhra Pradesh, the Sutram Bommalata (String puppets) and the Koyya Bommalata (Wooden puppets). The leather puppets, because of their transparency and jewel like glow, are most popular.
The main focus of Zola India’s leather puppetry workshop was to work with the traditional leather puppet artists and bring in the designs, colours, shapes and forms of the traditional craft into jewelry design.
The translucency and vivid colours, that give these puppets their brilliance, when viewed against the light, they look like glowing jewels. The transparency and durability of the material makes it perfect for statement necklaces and colourful earrings that light up any outfit.
“When you wear Zola, you wear a piece of history, culture and the innumerable stories of the artisans who create our jewelry. You wear a piece of earth.”