Anandpur and Kaninda districts of the state of Andhra Pradesh, In India are famous for leather painting art. Popularly known as ‘Tholubhummalata’ in the Indian language Telugu, it is one of the earliest performing folk arts. It dates as far back as the 3rd century BC.. Tholu means skin while the word bhummalata means puppet dance.
The procedure of etching out images and icons on leather is very long, intricate and complex. Etchings are made of images on dried goat leather. The dead skin of animals are soaked in water continuously for three to four days and cleaned up and then dried thoroughly under the sun. The outlines are then carved out with a sharp edged knife and painted in bright colors. Traditionally natural colors, extracted from flowers and vegetables were used to paint these leather puppets. However, many of these artisans are now graduating to artificial colors. In this style, generally the icons and images of Indian historical characters like kings, queens, army men, jester, buffoon, clown, natural scenes, trees and plants, flowers, birds and animals are etched out because the shadow dance tells the stories relating to these things. The height of these leather made puppets is generally six feet. These are created in such a manner that they can be bent from anywhere -hands, feet, waist, and necks etc.