Kantha (Embroidered Quilt)
Artist/maker unknown, Bengali
This embroiderer is distinguished by her acute observations of nature and the world around her. In the narrow central panel she has portrayed two pomegranate trees in many stages of maturation, including buds, flowers, and several sizes and colors of fruit, the ripest stitched in pure red. On one side of the trees, six saddled elephants each sniff a red ball, probably the grain-sugar balls fed to elephants across South Asia. Opposite them, six saddled horses stand nose to nose and graze from baskets of two different local forms. Concentric black and white circles on the outer border visually evoke appliqué work by their boldness.