Six rural crafts from Bengal, including chau masks, madurkathi and patachitra, get GI tag

Six rural crafts from West Bengal – chau mask, terracotta, wooden mask, dokra, madhurkathi (a kind of mat) and the patachitra — have been presented with the Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the Geographical Indication Registry and Intellectual Property India. In addition, terracotta has also achieved its own logo.

Charida village of Purulia district is famous for making chau masks, South Dinajpur’s Kushmandi is known for wooden masks, Bankura’s Bikna and Bardhaman’s Dariyapur have already attracted global recognition for the dokra work (identified as dokra of Bengal), Bankura’s Panchmura is renowned for terracotta craft while both West Midnapore and East Midnapore districts are known for Madhurkathi. Paschim Medinipur’s Pingla and Purba Medinipur’s Chandipur are renowned for the patachitra work.

The GI tag will help artisans involved in these crafts to create their work under these brands that are all legally protected, and it will also help marketing the products globally.

“Till now, only the crafts were getting promoted but buyers didn’t know where these were being made; they had no idea who the artists were. The GI tag will not only highlight the craft but also it will bring global recognition to the artists and small villages involved in the making of these crafts,” said Niloy Basu of that promotes Bengal’s rural crafts.

Founder and director of, Amitava Bhattacharya, said that the people involved in making were treated as ‘art labourers’ but now they would be revered as ‘artists’.

Back in 2004, Bhattacharyaa and his team had started an initiative “Art of Life” with the message – “without the artists, craft can’t survive”. The campaign mainly focused on three issues – capacity building of artists, reinforcing a direct market linkage with the artists and promoting the craft, artists and the villages simultaneously.

Later in 2013, Government of West Bengal’s Department of micro, small and medium enterprises & Textiles (MSME&T), West Bengal Khadi and Village Industries Board in collaboration with The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) came on board establishing ten ‘Rural Craft Hub’ with 3,000 people. Three years later, it was expanded as ‘Rural Craft and Cultural Hub’ with 12,000 more people enrolling themselves in the hub.

Also, the government of West Bengal created a retail platform – Biswa Bangla- for the artists to promote their crafts which prompted many interested people to visit the villages involved in making and buying the crafts.


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