An Absolutely Beautiful Bengali Kantha: Millions of Stitches
ca. mid twentieth century
42" x 31", 106.5 cm x 78.5 cm
What an absolutely magnificent Bengali kantha--and one that is detailed with an uncountable number of stitches which can be clearly seen in the many accompanying detail photos.
The kantha stitched textiles from Bangladesh and West Bengal in India are a well-known folk textile art and one of India's
most prized textile traditions.
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.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.