CHENNAI: After a seven-year-long wait, the Thanjavur Netti Works (pith works) and Arambavur Wood Carvings belonging to the central region of Tamil Nadu were awarded the Geographical Indication Tag on Tuesday by the GI registry.
The Geographical Indication tag is granted to products that the special for a particular geographical area and prevents misuse of the popularity of the products by others.
Speaking to Express, Sanjai Gandhi, an expert in Intellectual Property and counsel for both the products said that the application was submitted in 2013 by TamilNadu Handicrafts Development Corporation(Poompuhar), Government of Tamil Nadu after careful research and study with the artisans hailing from the villages of Thanjavur and Perambalur.
Thanjavur Netti Works (Thanjavur Pith Work) is made from Netti (pith) from a marshy plant called as Aeschynomene Aspera. This is a traditional art form and has been transferred from one generation to the next. The Netti Works are widely found in the Brihadeeshwara Temple, Hindu Idols, Garlands, door hangings and decorative pieces. The government has recognised the pith work industry as one of the major handicraft symbols.
"The majority of production is done in the towns of Thanjavur, Kumbakonam and Pudukkottai where most of the artisans hail from.
However, products made from the Pith are brittle and break easily, unless kept carefully. Hence, most models are preserved inside a glass box," said Gandhi.
Similarly, the Arumbavur wood carvings by the artisans of Perambalur are primarily made out of the wooden logs of, Mango, Lingam tree, Indian Ash tree, Rosewood, Neem tree are used for making sculptures.
Gandhi added that the artisans mainly source the wood from the Pachamalai Hills along the Tiruchy- Perambalur border and the Thanjavur-Kumbakonam belt.
Several temple cars with artistic features are even seen at the temples in the districts of Perambalur, Ariyalur, Tiruchy, Salem, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Thanjavur and Madurai which were crafted by the forefathers of Arumbavur Temple car sthapatis (idol makers)
One of the uniqueness of the craft is the entire design carved out of a single block of wood given that a single error could damage the entire piece.