Kantha (Embroidered Quilt)

Artist/maker unknown, Bengali

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

Late 19th century

Cotton plain weave with cotton embroidery in back, darning, satin, split, running, and dot stitches

32 x 32 inches (81.3 x 81.3 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Stella Kramrisch, 1968

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Kanthas are embroidered ritual cloths traditionally made from recycled fabric and thread by women in Bengal, especially in what is today Bangladesh. This kantha shows the goddess Durga vanquishing the buffalo demon (bottom) in a form distinctive to this region. Along with the lion and demon below her feet, Shiva (considered to be Durga’s husband) rises from her head. In addition, she is flanked by her four children (elephant-headed Ganesha, peacock-riding Karttikeya, the goddesses Lakshmi and Sarasvati). The whole composition is set in an arch from which two lamps hang. This same format is used in the temporary clay icons of the goddess created for the annual festival of Durga Puja, one of the highlights of the Bengali ritual calendar.