The Kaavad, a portable, painted, wooden shrine, is made by the Kaavad makers (Basayati Suthars) of Bassi, Chittor, for the storytellers (Kaavadiya Bhats or Ravs) of Marwar. The Kaavad makers, Suthars of Bassi, Chittor, in Rajasthan call themselves the children of Vishwakarma. They continue to make Kaavads because of their strong sense of identity with their profession as they are the only ones who make these artifacts for the tellers (Kaavadiya Bhats) from Marwar. In the past the maker served a role for a community and the society at large since the object was considered to be a religious with sacred proportions. The maker’s identity was thus beyond a mere professional. Today, they are forced to make a living by her/his traditional skills to meet the demands of a market geared towards tourism. What role they will play in the future depends on how they interpret the tradition with changing times. A storyteller’s Kaavad called the Marwari Kaavad has a fixed height, a flat roof, and a red base colour. The number of panels is even and varies from ten to sixteen, depending on the number of patrons a storyteller may have. The images on the panels include those of gods, saints and patrons. The Kaavad is usually wrapped in a red or white cloth and carried on the shoulder by the storyteller.
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