Sikkim handloom industry making efforts to popularise tribal art

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Gangtok, July 29 (ANI): To promote the weave of an indigenous tribe of Sikkim, handicrafts and handloom department of the state is trying to enhance its popularity by imparting training to unemployed youth.

The Directorate of Handloom and Handicraft (DHH) of Sikkim impart training to unemployed Sikkimese Lepcha boys and girls between the age group of 14 to 24 years.

The 'Lepchas' are the aboriginal inhabitants of Sikkim.

"Every Lepcha family has their own loom in their house and these loom frames are made of bamboo as they don't have modern mechanism. With the help of this loom they make the cloth in their respective houses," said Shanti Tamang, Instructor, Directorate of Handmade and Handloom Industry, Sikkim.

Handloom weaving in Sikkim is synonymous with the Lepcha weave. It is woven primarily in the 'loin' loom, which gives the fabric a superior quality. The weave frame is made from the bamboo and other wood.

The department has applied for the Geographical Indications (GI) registration of the art.

" This weave art originally belongs to the Lepcha community, we want to avoid the exploitation of this art in the handloom market. Therefore we have applied for it's GI registration and for that we are busy in the research work and hope to make it happen within 1-2 years," said Karma Bhutia, Deputy Director, Directorate of Handmade and Handloom Industry, Sikkim.

The cloth woven is ideally suited for curtains, bags, tablemats, belts, shawls, bed-covers and cushion-covers.

Handicraft products from Sikkim are gaining recognition and accolades from all parts of the world. And this fame and popularity seems to have encouraged the craftsmen of Sikkim even more. By Tashi Pradhan (ANI)

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