Thammampatti wood carvings which is Signature Artwork of Artisans in Salem Region, it become Tamil Nadu’s 36th Geographical Indication (GI) product. It has been thriving in Salem area for more than 75 years. ThammampattiShriUgraKathali Lakshmi NarashimhaSwamy’s temple Car was made by them in 1948.
Thammampatti wood carvingsrefers to various types of wood carvings, practiced by one of the highly skilled community of craftsmen on wood which is locally available in & around Thammampatti. Samaneasaman (rain tree wood), country wood, vaagai (AlbizziaLebbek), Mavilangai (CrataeveRoxbyrch), and Atti (FicusGlometrea) are predominantly used by the sculptors.
The artisans are skilled in this particular craft and this art is traditionally and hereditarily transferred from their forefathers.
Thammampatti wood carvings that are predominantly made by the people of that region, encompass a wide variety of motifs that are traditionally followed by their forefathers and the skill of intricate technical knowledge is passed down to this present generations of wood carvers by legacy.
Thammampatti wood carving encompasses a wide variety of motifs, designs that are derived from architectural details of temples or heritage. The main product range includes idols of Hindu gods, mythological events or stories, Dasavataras, Vahanas of various sizes, mythological creatures, door panels, temple doors, puja mandapam, temple cars etc. The size of the friezes or tablets vary from 2 ft. to 6 feet in length and of proportionate width with an antique finish.
The wood used to make such products includes Thoongavagai (Samaneasaman/ rain tree), vaagai (AlbizziaLebbek), Mavilangai (CrataeveRoxburch), Atti (Ficusracemosa), Pterocarpusmarsupium (Indian Kino).
The rain tree wood found in agricultural lands tends to be in golden to dark brown color. It is durable and has medium to fine texture. The vaagaitree is moisture tender, it has a good natural lustre with a fine texture.
The Mavilangaitree is a wild or cultivated tree which is wide spread in Thammampatti region and occurs on glades and near rivers and lakes.
The Attitree is a large deciduous tree, grows to a height of 7-10 metres. It has smooth white bark which is best suited for ornamental purpose. Even Teak & rosewood is used making of door or doorpanels.
The wood carving craft practiced by these craftsmen is specific to the rules and measurements of iconography defined in ‘Shilpashastra’. “Thammampatti” wood carvers are experts in working out geometric proportions and scale of detailing required for carvings especially chariots. The wood carving craft practiced by these craftsmen is characteristic to the rules and measurements of iconography described in ‘Shilpashastra’.
The process of wood carving is environment friendly with minimum exposure to chemicals. Seasoning of wood is done naturally by exposing it to different climatic conditions, i.e. process is natural and is not developed under regulated conditions.
The wood carving in Thammampatti is not only beautiful and different but also has a human touch which is passed down the generations.
Thammampatti is located in GangavalliTaluk of Salem District between Pachaimalai and Kollihills in Tamil Nadu. It is situated at the banks of Swedhariver. It is 63.4 KM from the Salem, city.
Thammampatti wood carving, a signature work of artisans in Salem region, is set to become Tamil Nadu’s 36th geographical indication (GI) product. Thammampatti is a village in Gangavalli Taluk of Salem district in Tamil Nadu. The village is situated between Pachaimalai and Kolli Hills.
The GI registry’s recognition for the unique wood-carved idols of Hindu gods, mythological events and stories, door designs, door panels and temple doors comes on a joint application by Silpa Gramam Thammampatti Wood Carver’s Artisans Welfare Association and Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation Limited (Poompuhar).
The artisans use woods such as thoongavaagai found in agricultural lands, vaagai (albizzia lebbek) which has a natural lustre, mavilangai (crataeve roxburch) which grows on edges of rivers and lakes, atti (ficus glometrea) and teak. As for the proof origin and history of the product, the registry was informed that the ‘Oddar’ community has attained mastery in the wood carving art and the intricate technical knowledge is passed down to generations of wood carvers by legacy. It has been thriving in Salem area for more than 75 years, and Thammampatti Shri Ugra Kathali Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy’s temple car was made by them in 1948.
The entire process of the artwork is environment friendly as the exposure to chemicals is minimal. Even the seasoning of the wood is also done in a natural manner by exposing it to various climatic conditions.
The Thammampatti wood carvings of Salem carried out by a group of artisans of the region are all set to be granted the Geographical Indications (GI) tag.
After a gap of seven years, the GI Registry will grant the coveted status to the applicants Silpa Gramam Thammampatti Wood Carver’s Artisans Welfare Association and the Tamil Nadu handicrafts development corporation (Poompuhar). Since there was no objection received for the application, the certificate will be issued once the lockdown is lifted said officials at the registry.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, Sanjai Gandhi, an expert in Intellectual Property and also the state nodal officer for the GI scheme, says that the wide range of wooden products that are being made in Thammampatti include idols of Hindu gods, mythological events or stories, Dashavatars, Vahanas, mythological creatures, door designs, door panels, temple doors and pooja mandapams.
Thammampatti located in Gangavalli Taluk of Salem District between Pachaimalai and Kolli hills in Tamil Nadu is known also for its wood varieties. The climate allows for the growth of Raintree and the Vaagai tree with a fine texture which are primarily used for making these wooden designs, he added.
After careful research with the artisans and the villagers, Gandhi said, “The ‘Oddar’ community has been in this business of wood carving art and handed it down across generations. The forefathers of the artisans in Thammampatti have settled in this region as early as 1942. They have been practising the art of making wood carvings for over 75 years in Thammampatti.”
Presently, Thammampatti artists are working on their traditional style and as per the need and choice of the customers. They are mostly being exported abroad for household decorations.
The entire process of wood carving is environment friendly with minimum exposure to chemicals. Seasoning of wood is done naturally by exposing it to different climatic conditions and is not developed under regulated conditions, said the GI expert.
Gandhi also said that this is the 36th product from Tamil Nadu that has been granted the GI status. “Tamil Nadu is also the only state to appoint a nodal officer for the GI scheme”, he emphasized.