Kantha (Embroidered Quilt)

Artist/maker unknown, Bengali

Geography:
Made in Jessore District, Bangladesh, Asia
or West Bengal, India, Asia

Date:
Second half of 19th century

Medium:
Cotton plain weave with cotton embroidery in back, darning, satin, running, single-sided, double running, and stem stitch filling stitches

Dimensions:
41 3/4 x 21 3/4 inches

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1968-184-3

Credit Line:
Gift of Stella Kramrisch, 1968

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Label:
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.