CHENNAI: The Thammampatti wood carvings of Salem carried out by a group of artisans of the region are all set to be granted the Geographical Indications (GI) tag.
After a gap of seven years, the GI Registry will grant the coveted status to the applicants Silpa Gramam Thammampatti Wood Carver’s Artisans Welfare Association and the Tamil Nadu handicrafts development corporation (Poompuhar). Since there was no objection received for the application, the certificate will be issued once the lockdown is lifted said officials at the registry.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, Sanjai Gandhi, an expert in Intellectual Property and also the state nodal officer for the GI scheme, says that the wide range of wooden products that are being made in Thammampatti include idols of Hindu gods, mythological events or stories, Dashavatars, Vahanas, mythological creatures, door designs, door panels, temple doors and pooja mandapams.
Thammampatti located in Gangavalli Taluk of Salem District between Pachaimalai and Kolli hills in Tamil Nadu is known also for its wood varieties. The climate allows for the growth of Raintree and the Vaagai tree with a fine texture which are primarily used for making these wooden designs, he added.
After careful research with the artisans and the villagers, Gandhi said, "The ‘Oddar’ community has been in this business of wood carving art and handed it down across generations. The forefathers of the artisans in Thammampatti have settled in this region as early as 1942. They have been practising the art of making wood carvings for over 75 years in Thammampatti."
Presently, Thammampatti artists are working on their traditional style and as per the need and choice of the customers. They are mostly being exported abroad for household decorations.
The entire process of wood carving is environment friendly with minimum exposure to chemicals. Seasoning of wood is done naturally by exposing it to different climatic conditions and is not developed under regulated conditions, said the GI expert.
Gandhi also said that this is the 36th product from Tamil Nadu that has been granted the GI status. "Tamil Nadu is also the only state to appoint a nodal officer for the GI scheme", he emphasized.