A Beautifully Hand Stitched Bengali Kantha: Rich Imagery

$265.00 USD

mid twentieth century
20" x 29 1/2", 51 cm x 75 cm

The kantha stitched textiles from Bangladesh and West Bengal in India are well-known folk textiles and are among India's most prized textile legacies.  

Kantha stitching has its roots in ingenuity and the culture of women: used whitedhotis (men's sarongs) and women's sarees were salvaged, cut and layered: thread from the colored, embroidered borders of the used garments were pulled free from the rags and used as embroidery threads for quilted work, the border threads usually being black and red, blue and red, and sometimes yellow, orange and green. Quilts, bags and clothing were embroidered using a running, stem and satin stitch, the quilts and coverlets were constructed of many layers, the number of layers dependent of the weather of the region where a particular kantha was stitched. 

Kanthas were stitched by both Hindu and Muslim women, and the variety of motives and patterns employed by these women calls up the rich cultural history of Eastern India and Bangladesh as well as the individual voices of the women who made these kanthas.
This beautiful kantha, with its limited palette of white, red and black, is a fabulous display of restraint and of jubilation.

The embroidered design is a celebration of life.  The central flower form is the lotus which represents the universe.  Surrounding this iconic image are others which are often seen in kanthas: birds, fish, the sprawling "tree of life" and the pinwheel-like shostir chino or a swirling form, an ancient symbol they refer to the movement of the universe.  Some of the images in this kantha reveal the blue ink guide lines used to draw the design before it was embroidered.  This kantha is edged in a printed red, black and white cotton cloth.
Do pore over the accompanying photos to enjoy the intense stitching which covers ever square millimeter of this lovely, hand made cloth.  Note as well the faint stains (impossible to avoid in kanthas) and some hand drawn guide lines which are also documented on the attendant photos.
A really marvelous thing.

Very recommended.
A Beautifully Hand Stitched Bengali Kantha: Rich Imagery