Wood carving faces extinction threat despite demand

From Our Correspondent

TEZU | Oct 29 | Wood carving,  a traditional sculpture of Arunachal Pradesh, an art to make various figures and images predominantly related to culture of state’s various tribes, is facing extinction.

Chow Ongkling Tawang, a craft master of handloom & handicraft department here expressed dismay over the dying art of wood carving, despite a sustainable means of livelihood. Though a catalyst to promote and preserve Arunachal’s rich cultural heritage, it is on the verge of extinction”, he said.

“Carving of wooden Mishmi couple has high demands from locals and outside the state. However, being lone carver, I failed to meet the demands. Though the department has been asked to provide wooden figure of Mishmi couple for Delhi, Kolkota, Guwahati and Itanagar Emporiums, but unfortunately shortage of carver has made us helpless”, he rued.

One pair of wooden statue costs Rs 2500 at the craft centre but the rate goes up outside. The art is lucrative in nature, but unfortunately the youth are least bothered about its values. Somehow, I managed to convince three youth who is undergoing training only after the stipend was hiked to Rs 3000 from Rs 500 by former Kalikho Pul Govt, he informed.

Other then wooden figure of Mishmi couple, Mishmi Takin, deer head and many other animal figures are well carved to meet the demands, he said, adding wood carving sculpture is a form of working wood by cutting it with tool in one hand or a chisel by two hands, resulting in a figure or figurine or sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object.

Meanwhile, ADT&H S Bhattacharjee advocated special focus on the craft to promote state’s culture and art. Blacksmith, silversmith and wooden furniture craft have been shut down for non recruitment of master trainers and other shortages. This craft surviving with limited fund and would have a insecure future if the fund flow stops, he apprehended.

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