Kantha (Embroidered Quilt)

Artist/maker unknown, Bengali

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

Date:
Late 19th century

Medium:
Cotton plain weave with cotton embroidery in back, buttonhole, darning, satin, running, and fishbone stitches

Dimensions:
34 3/4 x 34 3/4 inches (88.3 x 88.3 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1968-184-7

Credit Line:
Gift of Stella Kramrisch, 1968

Social Tags [?]

There are currently no user tags associated with this object.


[Add Your Own Tags]

Label:
In the lower panel, the great ascetic god Shiva- with yellow body and wild, long hair and beard- lounges in apparent nudity but for red ornaments that match his rosary. His companion snake climbs his right side while the goddess Parvati (a form of Durga) sits at his left, demurely covering her head as should a wife in her husband's presence. Floating around the piece are several blue lingas, the rounded pillar that is the mark of Shiva, set into their socket-bases. Also floating are three heads, each cleanly ending at the neck. These may be a form of the local deity Dakshin Ray, the Tiger God.

Additional information:
  • PublicationKantha: The Embroidered Quilts of Bengal

    A great ascetic Shiva in yellow, with wild, long hair and beard, lounges in apparent nudity but for red ornaments that match his rosary. His ubiquitous snake climbs his right side, while the goddess Parvati sits at his left, demurely covering her head as should a wife in her husband’s presence. In the opposite quadrant, a second yellow figure with a rosary may be one of Shiva’s ascetic followers. Several blue lingas, the rounded pillar that is the mark of this god, are set into their socket-bases (yonis). At right a shrine with ridged1 roof and arched entries contains a blue figure that may be the fluting Krishna. A distinctive aspect of this piece is the three heads, each cleanly ending at the neck, that may be a form of the local deity Dakshin Ray, the tiger god.2 Embroiderers often blended elements across sectarian boundaries, as these had little meaning in daily faith. Darielle Mason, from Kantha: The Embroidered Quilts of Bengal (2009), p. 197.

    NOTES
    1. Although simplified in this embroidery, the ridged roof is a form often found on the terra-cotta temples of the region. See Pika Ghosh, “Embroidering Bengal,” this volume.
    28. See Katherine Hacker, “In Search of ‘Living Traditions,'” this volume.