A Richly Embroidered Kantha Coin Purse: Small Bag from West Bengal

$85.00 USD

ca. mid twentieth century
11" x 6", 28 cm x 15 cm

This is a beautiful small cotton bag that was hand stitched in West Bengal, India, using a stitching method called kantha.

The small pouch has been fairly well worn and quite abraded and faded, especially on its proper front side. 

Kantha stitching has its roots in ingenuity and the culture of women: used white dhotis (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.   
This small bag or pouch is said to be a coin bag that is fashioned from a square-shaped embroidered cotton cloth.  The all over, hand stitching in red and blue cotton thread is fantastic, as is the wonderful design.  The cotton embroidery thread is faded.
The motif which is stitched on the bag shows a stylized, centrally placed lotus which in Hindu iconography represents the universe.
This bag has been used hard as can be seen by (what appears to be) light fading to the embroidery threads, overall surface abrasion, and some some abrasion to the corners and edges of the bag.

A really lovely kantha bag, and a soulful one at that.

A Richly Embroidered Kantha Coin Purse: Small Bag from West Bengal