J&K govt seeks GI tag for 300-year-old crafts ‘Kangri’ and ‘Wagguv’

The Department of Handicrafts and Handloom of Jammu and Kashmir is leaving no stone unturned to get geographic indication (GI) certification for ‘Kangri and Wagguv’ given their exclusivity and proximity to Kashmir.

Kangri is a wickerfirepot used by Kashmiris during winter to keep themselves warm.The earthen pot is skillfully woven with wicker. People fill it with charcoal embers and keep it underneath pheran (long cloak) to keep themselves warm during winter. Like the lighting of lamps, people in Kashmir use kangri to burn Isband (Harmala) on auspicious occasions.Besides this Kangris are also used as showpieces in homes, hotels, offices, and other places.  

Wagguv is the traditional floor matting, people of Kashmir have been using it for over it 300 years. The eco-friendly mat is made of reed and rice straw. However, with the advent of modern carpets, Wagguv art has been dwindling in Kashmir. Over some time the government wants to revive this art and promote Wagguv as showpieces for luxurious spaces.

Image by Kashmir Scan

As per Mehmood Ahmad Shah Director, Handicrafts and Handloom, Kashmir, Kangri is unique to Kashmir and so is Wagguv. We want that they should also be granted a GI tag given its exclusivity. This will go a long way in boosting our Kashmir handicraft sector.

“We have to revive Wugguv art. It has almost vanished. To create forward linkages, we are working on a two-pronged strategy. First, we are pitching it for GI and the second is creating a buzz around the product. We are not pitching it for the purpose it used to have in Kashmir. We are pitching it decorative pieces for luxurious spaces like hotels and other places,” said Shah.

Image by Daily Sabah

Likewise, the government is trying to pitch Kangri as an important artifact. “Kangri is an important artifact and can be purchased as souvenirs. It can be also used as a showpiece. And if we embellish it further, it can go places,” said Shah.

So far there are seven major crafts, namely Kani Shawl, Pashmina, Sozni, Paper-Machie, Walnut Wood Carving, Khatamband, and Hand Knotted Carpets that have already been GI certified. Besides, the process of GI registration of seven more crafts including Kashmir Namda, Shikara, Gabba, Kashmir Willow Bat, Crewel, and Chain Stitch is already under process. The application for GI certification of all these crafts has been submitted to the GI authorities in Chennai.

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