Export of handicraft items, idols increasing

Kathmandu, November 7

Export of idols and handicraft items has been increasing, according to traders involved in exporting such items.

According to Department of Archaeology, 21,000 to 30,000 handicraft items, including idols and Thangka paintings, are brought to the department per month for certification.

In the fiscal 2016/17, 149,780 handicraft items were exported from the country. Around 200,000 handicraft items have already been exported to various foreign countries in the first four months of the current fiscal.

Raju Shrestha, a worker at a cargo company, visits the department at least four to five times in a month for certification of handicraft items. “Handicraft items cannot be exported without certification from the department,” he said, adding that his company exported metal idols and other handicraft items.

“Metal idols are in high demand in the USA, Austria, Australia. The price of each idol ranges from Rs 750 to Rs 750,000, depending on the size and quality,” said Shrestha.

Similarly, Sanjiv Bajracharya, a resident of Patan, Lalitpur, said he made handicraft items and exported them abroad. “We make idols of Buddha and other deities and export them after certification from the archeological department.”

“Every day, more than 100 idols are brought to the department for certification,” said Sabita Kumari Joshi, curio inspection officer at the DoA. The certification from DoA had been made mandatory to prevent traders from exporting artifacts of historical value. “Only idols made for commercial purpose are allowed to be exported out of the country,” he said.

Shyam Sundar Rajbansi, section officer, DoA, said that only artifacts made of wood, metal and stone are inspected.