No Child’s Play

An exhibition showcases Indian and Japanese cultures through elaborately crafted dolls

Even in his 77th year, Jayant Sathe enjoys spending time in the company of dolls. Sathe, an engineer by profession and an artist by intent, has been making dolls for the last five years and is now holding his fifth exhibition of Japanese dolls on December 8 and 9 at Balgandharva Rangmandir Kaladalan.

Sathe kaka, as people fondly call him, started off with 35 dolls hoping to sell at least two to three of them. But never did he imagine the frantic sale of the dolls he had crafted himself. "I learnt the art of making authentic Japanese dolls from a lady in Mumbai who had lived in Japan for a long time. Over the years, I developed my own method," says Sathe, who used to run a mechanical workshop for 30 years.

Always on the lookout for something new, Sathe will exhibit Indian Dolls in his latest collection. "Despite India having rich and colourful fabrics and styles, there aren't any dolls which truly represent the beauty of our costumes. I travelled all over India in search of such a doll, but to no avail. Hence, I started making them myself," says Sathe. His exhibition will now showcase around 200 dolls, 150 of them made in Japanese styles and 50 in Indian. Sathe gives a perfect anatomy to his dolls and his detailing is impeccable. The Indian dolls include a figure that holds a Bharatanatyam pose with a hand woven sari neatly pleated in front and fastened with a belt; a doll, with a flared kurti, which symbolises Kathak seems like she has been caught in the middle of a performance . The dolls are decorated with ornaments such as earrings, bangles, necklaces, and anklets.

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