Togalu Gombeyaata translates to a play of leather dolls in Kannada; it is a form of shadow puppetry. Prof Nanjunda Rao, founder and visionary of Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath with deep interest in the tradition made an admirable collection of leather puppets, a few of which are displayed. Research on the subject of leather puppets has been ongoing at the Institution. Goat hide and deer skin are generally used for making these puppets since they have the characteristic of transparency and can easily absorb colours. The raw hide is treated to remove hair and other impurities and then dried. Then colours are applied using locally available vegetable dyes. Red, blue, green and black colours are usually used. The hide is then cut into appropriate shapes and joined together using strings and small sticks for best mobility. The maximum size of the puppet is 4 x 3 feet and the minimum is 6 x 3 inches. The puppets are usually characters from the Hindu epics – the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The collection also contains forms of British soldiers and characters from the colonial period. Also housed in the gallery are numerous Mysore dolls, figureines in clay and ceramic, masks and an assortment of votive items, instruments and tools.

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