Toys are a significant part of everyone’s history and they speak volumes about the cultures and lifestyles of different people. Every region of India has its own unique style of making toys, but they are all surpassed in Assam. The skilled craftsmen there use few tools and yet produce some of the best toy specimens in the country.
Assamese toys can be classified into three types according to the raw materials used to make them.
The district of Goalpara is noted for its clay mother and child toys that have characteristic pinched features. Both the Hira and Kumar communities are also known for the clay toys they make which are usually figures depicting brides and grooms. Other clay toys made by traditional toy makers include the figures of gods, goddesses and animals and the Kumar and Hira communities often make animals too.
The Goalpara region is also famous for cork or pith toys, which are mostly birds, although some animal figures and forms of gods and goddesses are made as well as toys carved from wood and bamboo. These are generally used for puppet shows and come in a variety of figures like birds, animals and even human forms.
Great importance is attached to the toys made from cloth, so much so that it is almost mandatory for every Assamese girl to learn this craft which is passed down from generation to generation. These toys are often used for puppet shows and a common theme is the human figure, particularly brides and grooms.