>> Kattigay (Timber-Works)

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Hampi Crafts > 03. Research Demographics & Results > >> Kattigay (Timber-Works)

1.0 Craft Identity

1.1 Name of Craft: Timber Works

1.2 Vernacular equivalent: Kattigay

1.3 Craft description: The specialized art of building timber frame structures falls under the banner of Kattigay. It could be considered an aspect of Badigathana.

2.0 Locations (within study area): Kanakagiri

3.0 Historical overview
Traditionally only the Badiga community engage in this occupation, but the Kattigay carpenters within the survey boundary whom the team located were not members of the Badiga clan. They were instead originally members of the leather-working community of Mocchis.

Community history – Vishwakarma and Vishwa Brāhman are synonyms for Kammālan, the members of which class claim descent from the five faces of Vishwakarma, the architect of the gods. Some sources consider them five sons of Vishwakarma i.e.

  • Manu – Smithy
  • Maya – Carpentry
  • Silpa – Stoneworks
  • Tvashtra – Metalworks and
  • Daivagna/ Visvagnas – Jewellery

The word Kammalan itself originates from Kannālan, denoting the one who rules the eye. This is with reference to the craftsmen for they make articles that please the viewer and thus help open his inner eye. The Kammalans in some cases believe themselves to be superior to the Brahmins and generally worship an aspect of Lord Siva and female deity whose name varies with geographical location. [Thurston, Edgar and Rangachari K. Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Government Press, Madras: 1909 (Ed. 2001)]
4.0 Works Process

4.1 Seasonality: Work is seasonal –while they work through the summer, no work can be done in the rains. The amount of work received depends on the number of people looking to build Timber houses.

4.2: Materials and their origins: Timber is sourced from nearby villages.

4.3 Tools: Saws, chisels, drills, files, mattaligay (Carpenter’s Angle), Kodti (wooden hammer), Suttige (iron hammer used during the rains).

4.5 Products: Various structural elements of a house like Timber roofing structures, wall panels, pillars and column sets (includes the bodhi or brackets, kambha or shafts, gadaga or capitals and the gaddikal or base), beams, cornices and so on.

4.6 Pricing range: A column set costs about Rs. 10,000.
5.0 Crafts-Person’s perspective
Timber frame structures are still popular in certain rural areas and the amount of work has been consistent through the years.
6.0 Lister’s comments
6.1 Uniqueness: Some workers favour only neem wood from within the Hampi region as it is termite resistant. They do not use nails for joints but erect the entire frame using only timber dowels.  they first set up the entire frame on a one to one scale in the workshop, dismantle it and again re-erect it on site.
6.2 Socio-economic data based on field interviews:
Traditionally only the Badiga community engage in this occupation, but the Kattigay carpenters within the survey boundary whom the team located were not members of the Badiga clan. They were instead originally members of the leather-working community of Mochis, who were schedule-caste and survived below the poverty line.


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