Kantha (Embroidered Quilt)
Artist/maker unknown, Bengali
Red, navy, and saffron threads intertwine in an unusual wide border of blossom and spiral roundels within a diagonal grid. Parrot-green threads enhance the vivid palette in the motifs around the central lotus-a swayback red horse with rider, green peacock perched on a blue elephant with bright red tusk, a knobby-kneed peacock, and a rainbow elephant with red rider. The human figures have distinctive triangular torsos, bulging hips, and muscular arms with pointed elbows. The animals are equally idiosyncratic; the elephants, for example, each sport a triple forehead bulge, as well as bent outer and straight inner legs with large toes. Corner trees with delicately undulating branches, several with roselike saffron-and-red flowers, complete this orderly and airy composition.