INTACH Unveils Project On Reviving Bark Cloth Of Odisha’s Gadaba Tribe

Bhubaneswar: Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) recently unveiled it project for reviving Kerang fabric of the Gadabas of Odisha’s Koraput.

Justice Sashikanta Mishra released the project report in the presence of head of INTACH’s Heritage Crafts and Community Division Vandana Manchanda during an event organised on the occasion of World Heritage Day here on Thursday.

Gadaba tribeswomen participated in the event attired in Kerang sarees.

According to INTACH, Gadaba and Bonda tribes have a long history of using hand-woven clothes made of Kerang fibre. They collect the bark of wild Kerang trees, soak those in water from nearby hill streams, dry those in the sun, and extract the fibre. Different vegetable colours are used before weaving it in a set pattern that has been followed for centuries. While the Gadaba women wear full-length cloth or saree with colorful stripes that cover the entire body, the Bonda women wear a small piece of cloth called Ringa, which wraps the lower part of the body.

The clothes made of Kerang fabric can be used for several generations and up to 100 years.

A study conducted in 2020, however, revealed that hardly any villages had looms and none of the Gadabas were engaged in making Kerang fabric. Following which, INTACH decided to launch a project to revive the dying tradition. The team interacted with the Gadaba tribesmen in different villages through workshops and open discussions and provided looms and other assistance to the tribals in four villages of Lamptaput block.

“The district administration and state government have also agreed to provide proper and adequate handholding to ensure that this ancient tradition of the Gadabas does not vanish,” said project leader and retired IAS officer Sanjib Hota.


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