Kantha (Embroidered Quilt)
Embroidered Quilt (Kantha) showing scenes from Krishna's Life

Artist/maker unknown, Bengali

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

Late 19th or early 20th century

Cotton plain weave with cotton embroidery in back, buttonhole, darning, satin, running, arrowhead, dot, and fern stitches

30 1/8 x 31 3/8 inches (76.5 x 79.7 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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In Gaudiya Vaishnava belief, the lives and emotions of Krishna and Radha merge with those of their devotees. The scene at bottom shows the episode where Krishna ferries Radha and the gopis (cowherd women) across the river in a peacock boat. However, the dancing and fan-waving devotees who flank the boat indicate that the embroiderer is depicting not only the story, but also its ritual reenactment. Narrative and ritual likewise combine in the right panel with (top to bottom) a processional chariot, enshrined icons of Radha and Krishna, a short version of the story of Krishna absconding with the gopis clothes, and the divine couple in a forest clearing. Other panels show devotees dancing ecstatically, most waving their right arms in the air. Gold wedding jewelry appears in the corners of the central square.