Zottim Leather Chappals of Goa

Art History/Craft History, Craft, Handloom, Art

Zottim Leather Chappals of Goa

Sethi, Ritu

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The wearing and making of the Zottim leather chappals ((slippers) is another facet of the disappearing Goan way of life. Like many other traditions it is slowly vanishing - unsung and unnoticed.  Ideally suited to the warm and humid climate of Goa these open slip-on chappals keep the feet cool and dry. Crafted for men, women and the young the Zottim chappal takes over 12 to 14 days to make, each bit hand-crafted and hand-stitched for long lasting durability. Though overshadowed by their better known neighbors in Kolhapur, Maharashtra the sturdiness and resilience of the the Zottim is a byword and part of local folklore which claims that a well made pair of Zottims lasts a lifetime. A popular tongue-in-cheek Konkani proverb - Ek soirik korunk, sat zottim zhorunk zai – which roughly translates as –‘to get a single wedding proposal be prepared to wear out seven pairs of Zottims’ is testimony to the difficulties faced in finding a partner and the resilience of a Zottim. The makers of these bespoke leather chappals belong to the Hindu Sawant community and are followers of the 15th-century poet, social reformer, savant and Bhakti Saint Sant Ravidas.  Their crafting skills extend to making a variety of chappals from the elegant and popular toe-ring T-strap Zottim, to the slip-on, the enclosed slip-on, the toe-divider, the Y-strap chappal and to other customary patterns that the client may want. Using leather that has been vegetable dyed and tanned the Zottim chappal is made by hand with minimal tools employ...
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