An Absolutely Beautiful Bengali Kantha: Millions of Stitches

$475.00 USD

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.
This particular kantha, with its limited palette of white, red and black, and its slightly off-regular stitched design, is a fabulous display of restraint and of jubilation.

The embroidered design is based on a grid of twenty similar blocks, the top row shows variations to the stitched, centrally-placed flower pattern which is the basis of the overall design.  It is just this slight veering away from regularity of pattern that adds a great deal of charm and beauty to this already-beautiful folk textile.

In the center of the textile is a stitched stylization of "the universe."  On most kanthas which are stitched by Hindu ladies, a representation of the universe is often at the center of the cloth, usually in the form of a lotus.

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 of red color which are also documented on the attendant photos.
A very beautiful kantha.

Very recommended.