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Craft museum plan at Visva

Santiniketan, Sept. 17: Visva-Bharati has proposed a museum to preserve artwork and handicrafts made at the varsity’s Shilpa Sadan since its establishment in 1922.

The plan was placed today before the central development commissioner (handicrafts), Shiv Shankar Gupta, during Shilpotsov, where he was the chief guest.

“Several old and valuable art designs made by Rabindranath Tagore’s son Rathindranath and some foreign artists need to be preserved. We had been thinking about a design bank and crafts museum for a long time. Today, we placed the proposal before the development commissioner,” said Prasanta Ghosh, the principal of the institute of rural reconstruction (Pally Sangathan Vibhag) that runs the handicrafts department, Shilpa Sadan.

The department’s officials said they found several designs were ruined over the years because of the “lack of facilities to preserve them”. “This prompted the varsity to come up with the plan of a crafts museum, said an associate professor.

According to the officials, commissioner Gupta has assured them all help from the Centre. “We have placed the proposal before him (Gupta). He said the Centre would provide the funds required,” an official said after a meeting with Gupta today.

Gupta said the Centre would provide the funds only after Visva-Bharati sent his department a detailed report on the project.

Principal Ghosh told Metro he expected his department to prepare the report in two or three months.

Shilpa Sadan (earlier called Shilpa Bhavan) was set up by Tagore in 1922 to promote local artisans.

Several designs of leather, textile and wood made by Rathindranath and his wife Pratima Devi at Shilpa Sadan in the late 1920s are still found in markets of Santiniketan.

Three types of handicrafts: batik, leather crafts and woodcrafts are now taught at Shilpa Sadan.

Sources said there are thousands of designs of these three handicrafts. “About 25 years ago, Japanese designer Kasa Hara also left several design here. “But recently, the authorities found a large number of designs have been ruined,” an official said.