Kantha (Embroidered Quilt)
Artist/maker unknown, Bengali
Three objects cluster at the upper left of the central square of this kantha: a kula (U-shaped rice-winnowing tray), a dheki (long foot-pumped grain thresher), and what is likely a stalk of rice. In rural Bengal, winnowing and threshing were most often women's work. The common and auspicious kula plays a major role in Bengali rituals, from rites to bring rain to those surrounding marriage and children. The dheki also had a role in traditional weddings. In the border to the left, a blue Shiva linga (the rounded pillar that is the mark of this god) is set below hanging lamps within a curve-roof structure with overhanging eaves and sconces projecting at the sides. This shrine resembles the famous Shiva temple at Tarakeshwar near Kolkata (Calcutta), a major pilgrimage site for infertile women.