Kantha (Embroidered Quilt)

Artist/maker unknown, Bengali

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

Date:
Late 19th century

Medium:
Cotton plain weave with cotton embroidery in back, darning, outline, satin, running, eye, surface satin, fern, zigzag, stem stitch shading, dot, and seed stitches

Dimensions:
45 x 65 inches (114.3 x 165.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

* Gallery 227, Asian Art, second floor (Wood Gallery)

Accession Number:
1994-148-684

Credit Line:
Stella Kramrisch Collection, 1994

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Label:
This charmingly intricate kantha highlights elaborate scenes of urban pleasures including two babus embracing their courtesan companions (lower panel). Similar couples enjoy a jaunt in a pleasure boat, its snake-eating peacock prow with whimsically dangling legs (top border). Others appreciate music and dance performances. The sumptuous contexts are emphasized by hanging lanterns, birdcages, curving European-style furniture, and fabric awnings. Certain images, such as the line of men with sticks (right border) may reflect specifically Muslim festivals and practices. In Bangladesh, when kantha-stitching was revived during the late 1970s and early 1980s to provide women a livelihood, this well-published kantha acted as a virtual pattern book for designers and its motifs appeared in a wide range of products.


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