Friday 22 March 2013

Asia's best folklore museum

This is regarded as one of the best folk art museums in Asia. What makes this unique is that it has nearly 7,000 different objects and artifacts, ach of them a connoisseur’s delight.
The Folklore Museum has artifacts from all parts of Karnataka. The spectacular collection leaves one breathless. The sheer variety testifies to the painstaking effort put in by several people to make it one of the most outstanding museums of its kind.
Founded in 1968, it had come along way to become a world class repertoire of representative collections of art from different regions of the State. The museum is divided into several categories and all artifacts are exhibited in a systematic manner. It is not merely a folklore museum but also contains elements of fine arts such as dance, puppetry, doll, music and drama.   
This is the Folk Art Museum of University of Mysore in Mysore city. It is one of the few museums exhibiting the rich heritage of Karnataka’s folk art and crafts and the ethnographic trends of south India.
The location of the museum is also splendid. It is housed in the magnificent Jayalakshmi Vilas mansion or palace in the Manasagangotri campus of University of Mysore.
Apart from housing exhibits, it has also helped in the study of  folk lore and folk art. Much of the museum’s development goes to P.R. Thippeswamy, Javare Gowda and Jeesham Paramashivaiah.
The museum has different galleries for folklore, large dolls, folklife, literature and art.
The folklore section has on display some rare costumes of Yakshagana, the dance form pf coastal Karnataka. Besides, there are props and accessories of both Thenka thittu and Badgu Thittu, the northern and southern forms of Yakshagana.
Another eye catching exhibit is the  rare and valuable Hanuman crown belonging to Kugala Balli village in North Karnataka. There are also costumes of Kathakali, a dance from of Kerala and  costumes of folk dramatists from Andhra Pradesh.
This is one of the few museums which have a wide variety of masks, puppets, leather dolls and sawdust dolls from various parts of Karnataka.
We can also get to see items and dress belonging to the Soliga tribals, who inhabit the Biligirirangana Hills in Karnataka and Erode in Tamil Nadu. Another very interesting object is the way ink was prepared at Dodderi village of Chitradurga  200 years ago.
One of the priceless objects is the Mantapa or the wooden piece used by K.V Puttappa or Kuvempu who lived in Vontikoppal in Mysore.
The music section includes a wide spectrum of  string, percussion and wind instruments. They give us an idea of how different regions made use of music.
The doll section has statues and large dolls used in dances which include Soma, Talebhutha, Kaibhutha, Maari and Gadi Maari, all native forms of Karnataka.
The folklife wing has equipments and instruments used by farmers, blacksmiths, goldsmiths, boatmen, fishermen, potters, cobblers and other artisans. Many household items like lamps, weapons, sickle,  cooking utensils, measures, churns, weaving implements, pots, beads, baskets, items of folk games and clothing are displayed.
The Folklore museum has one of the most important ethnographic collections of South Indian toys, puppets and household objects.
The exhibits also include collection of carved wooden figures from the different villages of Karnataka and  rural costumes. The museum also displays models of temples, houses, decorative masks, and ceremonial headwear and has a section that displays leather shadow puppets.
The museum is famous for the two wooden chariots that it has as part of its collection. Since the museum is close to the Kukkarahalli Lake, a walk along the large lake is mandatory. After enjoying the art inside, look up Nature at its best with birds chirping.
The Museum is open between 10 a.m., and 5 p.m., on all days except Sunday. Mysore is 139 kms from Bangalore and is easily accessible by rail and road. There is a wide range of accommodation from five star to good budget hotels.

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