Kantha (Embroidered Quilt)

Artist/maker unknown, Bengali

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

Second half of 19th century

Cotton plain weave with cotton embroidery in buttonhole, darning, running, dot, eye, and whipped running stitches

31 3/8 x 31 inches (79.7 x 78.7 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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This square kantha is decidedly one-sided, with little of the neatly pattern-darned embroidery appearing on the reverse. Despite the two small birds in the upper right, orderly vegetation dominates. The inner border uses four different distinct patterns, including kalkas (paisley motifs), a leaf-vine and a row of four-petaled blossoms. Around this appear a wide floral scroll, an elongated chevron, and a double chain. Each motif carries an evocative local name. The chevron motif, for example, is referred to in terms such as "rice stalk" or "date branch," showing that even geometric forms were conceived as abstracting the natural world.