Kantha (Embroidered Quilt)
Artist/maker unknown, Bengali
This densely quilted kantha may have been intended as a pillow cover. The diamond-based border motif is also used to outline the corner kalkas (paisley motifs), and even fills the stems of their whimsical floral projections. At center is a bold roundel formed of interlocking hexagons, configured as six-petaled flowers, each petal shaped like a long grain of rice. Encircling birds peck at these ricelike grains as if consuming the remains of ritual offerings. The hexagon-roundel is commonly found in alpanas (ritual rice-paste floor paintings) and other ephemeral women's arts throughout Bengal.