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Ganesha goes global

Since many pieces are produced in limited numbers, there is always a race to buy them



Tradition in porcelain

HEARD OF Ganesha buffs? No, not the dancing ones who follow the rath during Vinayak Chathurthi. They would be devotees. There is another group of people besotted with the Elephant God for reasons other than religion. These are connoisseurs who collect sculptures, paintings, or any other item that takes a Ganesha shape. And they do not wait for any festival.

Interestingly, the pujas for Ganesha require minimum supplies because he is considered the poor man's god. But changing with the times, Ganesha has now become a global icon. So much so that Lladro, the finest name in porcelain art from Spain, introduced a 2,000-piece limited edition of Ganesha sculptures in India last year. Offered at Rs. 69,000 then, the three unsold pieces now cost Rs. 3.25 lakh each.

Lladro claims that it has managed to bring the ancient tradition of porcelain closer to the public, while it had previously only been within the reach of the elite. The delicate figurines are entirely handmade and each expression seems to tell a story. The pieces are indeed timeless and have a dreamlike quality, but can Bangaloreans afford them?

"Rush, offer open only until stocks last!" is something the middle-class shopper has never been able to resist. But in this case, it is not the slashed prices and discounts, but the rarity of the item that lures buyers. Vijay Kumar, Manager of SPA Agencies, sole distributor for Lladro in India, says that many Bangaloreans are also brand conscious. "They want a premium foreign brand to sit in their living rooms, as an envious feast for all eyes." Buying such fragile items abroad is not a very good idea either, since there is no insurance for carrying them overseas. Thus, access to a foreign brand within the city thrills them.

Since many Lladro pieces are produced in limited numbers, there is always a race to buy them. Mr. Vijay says that buyers purchase the sculptures for the definite increase in the second sale value, but there are a few who buy for keeps. There are even some pieces that are set aside for "privileged customers" or regulars.

The Spanish company plans to launch a series of Radha-Krishna sculptures in a few years. Meanwhile, egged on by the astounding success of the Ganesha venture, Lladro has recently launched its first annual series for 2004, titled Life Deco, at the Lladro Boutique in Prestige Meridien, M.G. Road. Part of this series is the Humanitas collection— eight sculptures containing the secret of man's emotion of discovering new horizons with each new day.

If you want to get your hand on one of those fantastic Lladro pieces, contact Mr. Vijay Kumar of SPA Agencies at 25321868 or 25589988.

ROHINI MOHAN

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