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A style statement with lamps

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DEXTERITY: A file of `Nettoor petti', the traditional Kerala jewel box. Photo: S. Mahinsha
DEXTERITY: A file of `Nettoor petti', the traditional Kerala jewel box. Photo: S. Mahinsha

Afshan Yasmeen

BANGALORE: Ah for those days when cooking vessels were made of burnished bronze, copper and tin and kept the food hot for hours? Today's casseroles and non-stick pans do the job as well but it's not quite the same, is it? Or hark back to the time when painstakingly sculpted oil lamps shed their soft glow and warmth at night, much more romantic than the flick of a switch truly.

Although vessels made of an alloy of copper and tin in various proportions were popular even just a generation back, such beauteous items are largely absent in our prosaic lives. Nevertheless, those that have collected them are making a style statement, artistically placing them in a modern ambience.

You have a chance to revive the look of your living room if you visit the Kairali Handicrafts Fair that is on at the Safina Plaza. One of the prized craft items from Kerala is the Aranmula mirror, which is made of metal polished to a high degree. Only a couple of families know the secret of making it now. Which is a pity because there are spectacular examples of the art in the erstwhile royal palaces of Kerala.

All these crafts have only a few practitioners left, contributing their genius and vibrant rhythm to the rich tradition of Indian art.

And then there are the Kerala cottons, unbleached and embellished with either coloured cotton on gold zari borders. These comprise saris, set mundu and dhotis. And what better to rub yourself dry than with the Kerala thorthu?

Other items on display include handmade wooden Kathakali statues, the famous Nettoor petti or dowry box of feudal Kerala, and miniature versions of the snake boats, identified with the spectacular races in the lush backwaters in the run-up to Onam.

You can take your pick from carved images of animals and deities in rosewood and sandalwood besides utilitarian items in natural fibre.

Organised by Kairali, the marketing unit of the Handicrafts Development Corporation of Kerala, the fair aims at giving exposure to various crafts and promoting sales for the products made by skilled persons from Kerala.

A discount of 10 per cent is being offered at the fair, which is on till February 18 between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

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