Athangudi tiles may soon get GI tag
Athangudi tiles, which have come to define traditional homes in Chettinadu region and are also sought after by many from across the country, may soon become the latest product from the State to get the geographical indication (GI) tag.
Chennai: The Federation of Chettinad Athangudi Heritage Flooring Tiles Manufacturers’ Association filed an application with the Geographical Indication Registry to obtain the prestigious tag.
Though flooring options have grown to include countless variants in terms of products and designs over the hundreds of years since the master craftsmen in Athangudi in Sivaganga district began making these tiles, there are not many that are as easily identifiable as these tiles. Even today, each tile is handcrafted using stencils and common materials, which makes them unique even when the overall design remains the same.
In its application filed through expert intellectual property rights attorney P Sanjai Gandhi, the association has cited the tile-making process being eco-friendly, handmade and the long heritage in terms of both the process and designs and motifs to seek GI registration.
Right from the early days, the process and materials have remained rudimentary: inside a mould, a metal stencil is placed on a clean glass piece, into which a slurry made of grey and white cement, sand and desired colour is poured.
After a few minutes, the stencil is carefully removed, and the rest of the mould is filled with dry cement-sand mixture. After it dries for about a day, the freshly made tile is immersed in water for about 8-12 days for curing.
The next stage involves keeping them in rice husks under the sun to remove moisture fully. It is also said that the oil in the husk would give the tiles a deep shine. Finally, the edges are smoothened.
Though Athangudi tiles came in floral or geometric patterns or freehand designs drawn directly on the glass instead of using the stencil, many manufacturers now also customise the design as per requirement.
Advocate Gandhi said he was confident that Athangudi tiles would obtain the GI tag, which would offer intellectual property rights protection for the artisans of the village and surrounding areas.