Wednesday, 17 March 2004

Geographical Indication for Kondapalli toys

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, March 17: After Pochampalli Ikkat, the State government is planning to push the world famous Kondapalli wooden toys for Geographical Indication (GI) protection rights to safeguard this unique craftsmanship from cheap imitation and extinction.
Once the GI office in Mumbai accepts the State government's plea on Kondapalli toys, dozens of artisans in the dusty village of Kondapalli in the outskirts of Vijayawada city will secure international rights on their art designs and craftmanship. No one else outside the geographical area of Kondapalli village will have the right to produce Kondapalli toys either by hand or machine.
A senior official in the AP Handicrafts Development Corporation told this correspondent that the GI rights would help the poor artisans earn worldwide recognition. "The artisans will also get a few bucks more for their hard work. What is needed is aggressive marketing strategy both at the national and international level", he pointed out.
Kondapalli toys are crafted from a special type of softwood, locally known as Tella Poniki, available in the adjoining reserve forests. Unlike toy-makers elsewhere in the State, the Kondapalli artisans use only natural water colours. They mostly use a paste prepared from tamarind seed powder to join various parts of the toy. Some enterprising artisans, however, use synthetic adhesives. Once the toy is chiselled, they use sawdust and tamarind seed paste to give finishing shape and attach limbs to the toy. The toy is then left for a day or two for drying. Some of the famous Kondapalli toys include the 10-headed demon king Ravana, the village gathering, snake charmer, village belle, palmyra tree. Different colours are used to symbolise the character of the image. The influence of Islamic idiom is also felt on some toys. The process being highly flexible, Kondapalli toys have found many admirers in foreign countries.
Rural Development Minister D Srinivas pointed out that the State government was also planning to obtain patent rights for Gadwal sarees (both silk and cotton), Uppada and Jamdhani fabrics and Dharmvaram silk sarees, besides the Kalamkari art designs of Pedana in Krishna district.
Earlier, he told the State Assembly that the government had successfully obtained patent rights for Pochampalli sarees. "The government wants to obtain GI rights for several products which reflect the cultural legacy of the State", he said.

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