This man made this table

Having shunned the blue temple I have decided to do my furniture shopping on-line where I am more in control of my experience and no blue arrows will show me the way. Per a friend’s recommendation I have been checking out the website Overstock.com. As many of you know, online shopping is now easier than ever. Not only can you read the (often fake) opinions of other buyers, but they also offer you several enlarged views of the item(s) in question. While shopping for a coffee and end table I came upon this find: Kishu End Table (India). “Oh, it’s from India,” I thought. Maybe I should help my peoples out. I decided to take a closer look at the enlarged pictures and this is what I found:

Product Description: Add a touch of India to your decor with the Kishu end table.

I mean, what the hell?!? Does seeing a picture of the man who supposedly made this table make me somehow more inclined to buy it? Do they similarly put up pictures of the 10-year-old Chinese kids who make most of the other products? I couldn’t find any other products where they pulled some exotification crap like this. Any yet strangely, I am now drawn to this table. Maybe a touch of India is what is called for in these mass produced times.

23 thoughts on “This man made this table

  1. Everything “Indian” is big these days, even in suburban Indianapolis (where I am vacationing! There are a growing # of restaurants and clothing places w/ names like “Karisma.” I wonder, where was all this “coolness” factor and media exposure to desi-ness when I was kid/teen in the ’80s and ’90s? Oh well…

  2. Then again, IKEA usually tells you whose designed the objects that you’re buying…… “This BRA sofa was designed by Marja Simonsen” type of thing….. though, true, they’ve yet to post photos of the industrious Bulgarian who made my bookshelves…

  3. Ok, I’m not trying to say I know anything about the international furniture trade, but this is what I found on the Overstock website, in their Worldstock section:

    Around the world there are artisans who know how to make exquisite centerpiece items. Yet they have trouble accessing the US market because they are small-lot producers in an age of mass distribution. Often there is no way to get goods from their remote villages to here, and when there is, too many layers of mark-up make them unaffordable. The tragedy is that if we bought their goods, the artisans could prosper without abandoning their native crafts and culture, and without depending on charity.
    Overstock’s main business is bringing small lots to consumers at affordable prices. Five years ago we realized that this capacity is exactly what artisans need. Thus was born Worldstock. We locate magnificent items made by craftswomen and craftsmen around the world. We emphasize sustainability: choosing items that are environmentally sound, and that donÂ’t burn up the natural or human resources of their producers. Our goal in Worldstock is not to make money, but to create tens of thousands (and someday millions) of jobs in the poorest regions of the world, while bringing customers unique products of which they can be proud – hand-crafted clothing, jewelry, ceramics, furniture, and much more.

    Just throwin’ it out there…

  4. It’s a well designed and finely made rosewood table!

    I clicked on the link where it says to meet the artisan and this is what I found:

    Subsistence farming is a way of life in the Thar Desert of India. In its harsh climate, survival can be an uphill struggle. Since the removal of the local British military base, harder times have fallen on the area of Rajasthan. In response to these difficult times, local craftsmen are joining together to make their traditional woodworking craft available to the global market. Made from sheesham wood (Indian rosewood), this high quality furniture is gaining in popularity around the world.

    How’s that for a bit of nostalgia for the “Rajhe”, and an appeal to buyers to fill in for the (recently?) departed British Cantonment now forbidden to do their bit for the locals? As if the table doesn’t speak for itself!

  5. Is California the only state that has a problem with Lead?

    WARNING: Attention California residents: This product contains lead, a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.
  6. WARNING: Attention California residents: This product contains lead, a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.

    At a passing glance one might get the impression that lead is only toxic to CA residents…

  7. At a passing glance one might get the impression that lead is only toxic to CA residents

    you would think that breathing all the smog and the pollution would actually make them immune to toxic substances such as lead

  8. Or maybe CA is the only state that passed a proposition requiring people to report when lead is present in household items (dishes, furniture, etc.)? Oh reality, way to take the fun out things :)

    Abhi, be honest, would you have “add(ed) a touch of India” to your place if the table had been made with the teeth of poor Mumbai orphans?

  9. I appreciate knowing who made the products I use. The Internet makes this possible. But why not tell us the craftsman’s name? Also, what was his role in making the product? I assume he was the carpenter, but was he also the designer? Is the design itself based on traditional forms from the Thar Desert, or otherwise Rajasthani?

  10. Maybe the guy comes with the table? I could use another grandpa, or “dada”, as us Gujarati’s call them. We can hang out, eat pan, play cards, and watch Wheel of Fortune.

    By the way, the table is really nice. You have good taste.

  11. How easy to use the photo for exotic value – but they’d die before revealing how much he was paid for it, wouldn’t they? He doesn’t look too well-fed. Buying this stuff helps the buyer feel good about herself without helping the artisan/worker get a better deal.

  12. Don’t buy it! It’s a BLOOD TABLE! Would you buy this table knowing that it cost a Rajasthani grandpa his, um…his…dhoti?

    OR his lead?

    Plot Outline: Abhi, Siddartha, and syndicate of Sepia Mutineers led by Ennis match wits over the possession of a priceless handcrafted table crafted by, um…Kishu Nana (played by Djimon Hounsou, of course).

  13. At a passing glance one might get the impression that lead is only toxic to CA residents…

    It is our kryptonite.

  14. Does seeing a picture of the man who supposedly made this table make me somehow more inclined to buy it?

    Quite simply, yes. It makes it seem more authentically Indian and less mass produced.

  15. Hey Abhi, try smartbargains.com they have some nice stuff as well. I would buy the table it’s cute and the dada who made it would rather you have it than some…… (insert racial epithet here) As always support the brown.

  16. Sepia Mutiny is now my go-to source for all types of hilarity:

    Maybe the guy comes with the table? I could use another grandpa, or “dada”, as us Gujarati’s call them. We can hang out, eat pan, play cards, and watch Wheel of Fortune.

    I would totally go see this film:

    Don’t buy it! It’s a BLOOD TABLE! Would you buy this table knowing that it cost a Rajasthani grandpa his, um…his…dhoti?
    OR his lead?
    Plot Outline: Abhi, Siddartha, and syndicate of Sepia Mutineers led by Ennis match wits over the possession of a priceless handcrafted table crafted by, um…Kishu Nana (played by Djimon Hounsou, of course).
  17. Buy his tables and put some food on the poor man’s table. He looks starved. :(

    That Rs/- 2 that he received for his craftsmanship will at least buy him 2 paans.

    I’m sure he submitted that photo with his furniture pieces… here is me in my loongi! Ridiculous tactic on the part of Overstock.

    On a sidenote… be selective on Overstock and SmartBargains. Quality perceived is not always quality received. Howver, you can return for free within 30 days.

  18. I hate this whole “exotification” thing – as V.S. Naipaul puts it, the idea of holy poverty.

    I’ve come across two extreme views on this – on the one hand, there are people who do not think of India as anything more than a poor, third-world country (stuff that would be attributed to a sub-Saharan African country, for example), while on the other hand, there are those who find something very exotic about abject poverty.

  19. i think you should be appreciative of the fact that someone chose to help your countrymen instead of having this item mass manufactured in china.

    the man imaged heads up the group that hand makes these. trust me.