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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2002

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Hallmark of excellence

One would do well to shop at The Cottage Carnival Exhibition at Sri Sankara Hall, for, you can get anything from a huge hand-scupted panel to the tiniest of idols, combining aesthetics and craftsmanship.

CELEBRATING THE festive season of gift-giving and the best of Indian handicrafts is "The Cottage Craft Carnival Exhibition" organised by The Central Cottage Industries Corporation of India Ltd. One would do well to shop here, for under one roof you can get anything from an enormous hand sculpted mango wood "Vishwarupa" panel painted in enchanting colours to the tiniest of dhokraware Ganeshas, from oxidised silver jewellery and the best of Orissa's ikkat saris to beautifully crafted Kalamkari panels from Srikalahasti. As always, the Cottage Industries collection combines a sense of aesthetics and charm with impeccable craftsmanship, making every item on display a hallmark of craft excellence.

On display are well crafted sandalwood items and artefacts from Karnataka, pretty `Kadam wood' figures painted over in hues of gold, rosewood artefacts and Kashmiri walnut wood items, each a perfect gift article. Tiny exquisitely inlaid marble boxes, wall hangings and other knick-knacks from Agra reflect the pietra dura work of the Taj, while Maharashtra's copper enamel pieces enchant with their distinct charm. From Rajasthan come an array of crushed gem boxes and artefacts and lovely examples of Jaipur's blue pottery. Along with blue pottery vases, bowls, servers and plates, on display are very pretty and innovative ceramic door handles, clothes pegs and other functional items. Also making a colourful splash is a range of excellently crafted Khurja pottery items consisting of tea sets, dinner sets, vases, tea and coffee mugs and so on.

Aligarh brass icons and figures, bronze figures from Swamimalai and a choice of block printed textiles from Jaipur and Jodhpur, make attractive gift statements. A vibrant touch is given to the Carnival by pipli work wall hangings and Orissa's ikat textiles. And for interiors there are intricately crafted leather puppet work wall hangings and lamp shades from Andhra.

So, whether it is a simple jute bag you covet, pretty designer terracotta diyas or a lyrically conceived dhokra work box from Orissa, it is time to visit The Cottage Carnival Exhibition at Sri Sankara Hall, Alwarpet, Chennai. And in the process, one can also meet and salute some of the mastercraftsmen and talented craftspersons who "weave and craft dreams to make our's possible".

"The Cottage Carnival Exhibition" of Indian crafts and handlooms will be on till October 27.


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