Wood Carving of Andaman & Nicobar


Woodwork is native to the Andaman people who use it for constructing houses, fencing plantations, making canoes, furniture, and other items for decoration and use. Islands other than Car Nicobar have a tradition of carving wooden statues of human figures, birds, and animals, which are used as house deities to ward off evil spirits. These wooden figures are well-crafted and are painted with bright colours. Several artisans are engaged in making popular tourist mementoes such as the crossbow, which consists of a central beam of wood with grooves and iron loops to hold arrows and a quiver. A trigger made of wood or bone is fixed to the lower portion of the beam. The crossbow is used with one hand and can shoot up to 150 yards. Its novel design and trigger system make it a prized handicraft article for tourists. Another attractive tourist artefact is a small canoe model, made from wood and carved and shaped with a knife, to which miniature sails of cloth are added. Shaped by the flow and currents of the sea and converted into objects of art, driftwood is freely available in the Andamans, and imaginatively converted into different articles for decoration or use. Ornamental woods like paduak, marble wood, and chui are becoming increasingly popular as table tops and for furniture. Other utilitarian items like walking and billiard sticks are also made by local craftspersons.

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