The Telegraph
Thursday , September 15 , 2011
Since 1st March, 1999
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Antique pieces from antique land fly off shelf
- People make beeline for Sambalpuri and Kotki sarees as well as dokra artefacts

Sept. 14: Metal objects dating back to the 20th century, collected from the interior villages of Orissa, are being displayed at the ongoing Orissa Fair at NEDFi Haat.

These utility products from mashal (metal holder for fire) to fish jars, from queer ornamental boxes to containers to store rangoli have found pride of place at the fair which began on September 10.

“These items are made of metal. We collect it from the people residing in the villages of Orissa. These have been used by their ancestors and although they are not antiques, they are neither factory made,” artiste Manoj Sahu of Bhubaneswar said.

Starting from Rs 450, these objects can cost up to Rs 9,000.

Collecting old items, which started as a hobby for this artiste, soon blossomed into a business.

People from Calcutta and Delhi are regular buyers of these items.

“I am an artiste and have been inspired by these items. Earlier, it used to be an enjoyable affair to hunt for these pieces, but the scene is totally different these days. Outsiders now know where to go and buy them in large numbers,” Sahu said.

Some of the interesting items that he brought here include kajal-holder, supari (dry betel nut) cutter, showpieces and others.

“I have been attending the fair for the past eight years and every year I received a great response,” Sahu said.

“The speciality of the fair is that no middle person is involved here. The people at the counters are the artisans and they have showcased their own products,” Bhubaneswar Ranbir, president of the organising body M/S Kallinga Charukala ICS Ltd, said.

Dokhra artefacts, a speciality of Orissa, were a huge favourite among the visitors.

“We have brought several dokhra showpieces from one of the stalls. With Durga Puja starting next month, these items are a perfect gift to friends and family,” Arunima Pathak, a visitor said.

Besides these, the handloom products, especially cotton fabrics with Kotki and Sambalpuri designs were also on display.

“The sarees and salwar suits in pure cotton are suitable for the warm climate. These are all hand-woven and designed to suit the tastes of girls and women of all ages,” Santosh Sahu, an artisan at the fair, said.

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