Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur Netti, Arumbavur wood carvings get GI tag

The Thanjavur Netti works (pith works) and Arambavur Wood Carvings of Tamil Nadu were accorded the Geographical Indication Tag on Tuesday by the GI registry. There has been a long-standing demand for GI Tag. The tag is awarded to products that the special for a particular geographical area and prevents misuse of the popularity of the products by others.

“The Thanjavur Netti and Arumbavur wood carving was awarded the GI tags,” said Chinnaraja G Naidu, Deputy Registrar, Geographical Indications. Both these areas fall in the central region of Tamil Nadu.

Thanjavur Netti work is made from Netti (pith) from a marshy plant called as Aeschynomene Aspera. The traditional artform used widely in the Brihadeeshwara temple Idols. The government has recognised the pith work industry as one of the major handicraft symbols.

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In the case of Arambavur Wood Carvings, the Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation Limited (Poompuhar), Arumbavur Wood Carvers’ Handicrafts lndustrial Cooperative Society Ltd, and the Arumbavur Temple Car and Woodcarving Artisans Welfare Society made the push for GI Tag.

As per the filing with the registry, the Arumbavur wood carvings are primarily made out of the wooden logs of Indian siris (Poo Vaagai, Albizia lebbeck), Mango (Mangifera indica), Lingam tree (Mavilangam), Indian Ash fiee (Othiyan – Odina wodier), Rosewood, Neem tree (Vembu – Azadirachta indica) are used for making sculptures. The unique aspect of the Arambavur wood carvings is that it is often inspired by architectural details on temple sculptures and carvings.

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Presently, the Arumbavur wood carvings revolve around idols and deities, temple chariots and temple cars, door panels of houses, pooja rooms and temples, decorative figures, pooja mandapam. Arumbavur is famous for its wood carving tradition which is of a religious nature and its community of wood carvers have their origin in Madurai.

The artisans (predominantly the Boyar community) used to go to the particular place where the temple car has to be made and stay in that temple for a period of upto four years and complete the work.

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Then they migrate to another place, where a new temple car has to be made. Like this, artisans led the nomad life and later a cluster of people settled in Arumbavur around 250 years ago and did temple cars, other wooden statues, house utility products, carpentry works, the filing said.

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