A Wonderfully Good Bengali Kantha: Off-Grid

$265.00 USD

mid twentieth century
18" x 29", 45.75 cm x 73.75 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 based on a grid of a dozen similarly sized blocks, inside of which is stitched a floral motif, its leaves or petals alternating in colors of red and black.  The perimeter of this kantha is slightly scalloped and beautifully finished in red and black stitching and a serious of evenly spaced red cotton tassels.
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 several, small stains and some hand drawn guide lines which are also documented on the attendant photos.
A really marvelous thing.