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Digitalizing Cooperatives

Varanasi Wooden Lacquerware & Toys

A riot of colours on the natural veins of the wood is the sheer work of outstanding craftsmanship of Kunder Kharadi community artisans in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh). For generations, they have been the custodian of this celebrated craft where they design wooden toys sans any joints.

The artform

Wood is chopped, peeled, and shaped to create these toys using knives and other sharp instruments. The craft of creating wooden toys includes spherical, diametrical, and cylindrical toys in addition to more conventional items such as pen stands, vermillion cases, religious artifacts, gods and goddesses, animals, birds, and boxes. The craftsmen's lives revolve around this craft since, upon the birth of a child, a new lathe is added to the family's collection. In local customs, the groom's family makes sure the prospective bride is accustomed to using a lathe when mending a marriage.

GI Tag

This vibrant craft was awarded GI tag in 2015 and this almost a decade old recognition has been instrumental in popularising the craft across countries.

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