The Thanjavur Netti Works and Arumbavur wood carvings have been given Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the Geographical Indications Registry here in Chennai.
The application for Thanjavur Netti works was filed by Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation (Poompuhar) and in the case of Arumbavur wood carvings it was filed by Poompuhar in association with the Arumbavur Wood Carvers’ Handicrafts Industrial Cooperative Society Limited and the Arumbavur Temple Car and Woodcarving Artisans Welfare Society. “Both the applications got registered and GI tag has been granted,” said Chinnaraja G.Naidu, Deputy Registrar of Geographical Indications.
A GI tag is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation by virtue of their geographical association. The tag conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the geographical origin of the product. The owner of the GI tag has exclusive rights over the product
IPR Attorney and GI Advocate Sanjai Gandhi, who was instrumental in getting the GI tag for the products, said, “Thanjavur Netti Works (Thanjavur Pith Work) is made from pith. The pith is obtained from netti, a hydrophyte plant called as Aeschynomene aspera. The artisans are skilled in this particular craft and this art is traditionally transferred from their forefathers.”
The lakes around Pudukottai (Pudukullam & Kallaperumbur lake) are surrounded with marshy land which favours the growth of the hydrophytic plant. The soil found in Thanjavur is favourable for the growth of the plant that is used for the production of pith handicraft based in Thanjavur. The notable works from Thanjavur Netti Works include models of the Brihadeeshwara Temple, Hindu idols, garlands, door hangings and show pieces used for decoration. The pith stems are found in and around the Thanjavur region and Mannargudi.
Arumbavur Wood Carving is done at Arumbavur and around the Veppanthattai taluk of Perambalur district. The wood carvings are primarily made out of wooden logs of Indian siris (Poo Vaagai, Albizia lebbeck), mango (Mangifera indica), lingam tree (Mavilangam), Indian ash tree (Othiyan – Odina wodier), rosewood, neem tree (Vembu – Azadirachta indica). The carvings in Arambavur Wood Carvings are often inspired by architectural details on temple sculptures and carvings. The dimensions of the wood blocks used depend on the wooden sculpture to be carved. The descriptions and designs which inspire the work lie in temple architecture indigenous to the region. Usually, the statues are crafted in the range of 1 to 12 feet.
Sculptures of Lord Vinayaka, Goddess Saraswati, Lord Krishna, Lord Siva and Goddess Parvathi can be seen in Arumbavur Wood Carvings, along with motifs such as hamsa/mythical swans, poomakhumbhal cornucopia, kaamadhenu, other floral motifs; temple chariots and temple cars used during processions of deities, figures of Christ, Dasavatara panels, avatars of Goddess Laksmi and vahanas for temple deities among numerous other designs .