Kantha (Embroidered Quilt)
Artist/maker unknown, Bengali
Pattern was paramount for this sophisticated artist. The interplay of abstracted motifs and geometric panels-some bordered, others segregated by carefully tailored forms-shows a creative eye, as does the vibrant palette, extraordinary range of stitch types, and the selective use of white-on-white running stitches as a design element. The elongated peacocks around the central lotus and the two abstracted processional chariots flanking it, with their tiers of striped arches, privilege the graphic over the literal. The panel directly above the left chariot contains four striped triangles covered in leaf-shaped projections, perhaps a rendition of the simpler alpana (floor painting) motif of a rectangle with interior cross and may also reflect the shri (ornamented rice mound) that is an important item in Bengali weddings.