Kantha (Embroidered Quilt)

Artist/maker unknown, Bengali

Geography:
Made in West Bengal, India, Asia
or Bangladesh, Asia
Made in Undivided Bengal, Asia

Date:
Second half of 19th century

Medium:
Cotton plain weave with cotton embroidery in back, darning, satin, running, eye, arrowhead, and fern stitches

Dimensions:
32 x 31 3/4 inches (81.3 x 80.6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1994-148-687

Credit Line:
Stella Kramrisch Collection, 1994

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Label:
At bottom right, a monstrous goddess Kali (Durga's fierce form) raises four massive arms, one blithely swinging a severed head. Her body, with a distinctive double-block torso, is outlined in red and filled with blue stitches. The corpse of the god Shiva below her feet is yellow outlined in green and an adjacent blue elephant holds a second yellow-and-green figure, perhaps the living Shiva. The top quadrant contains a triangular shrine housing a Shiva linga. Pairs of exuberant floral trees to the left and right grow in opposite directions from a floating "ground" of border motif, rather like reflections in water, although each tree is different.

Additional information:
  • PublicationKantha: The Embroidered Quilts of Bengal

    Pairs of exuberant floral trees to the left and right grow in opposite directions from a floating “ground” of border motif, rather like reflections in water, although each tree is different. The corner kalkas are equally imaginative in that their interiors do not follow the outlines of their exteriors. The top quadrant holds a lively red horse and a triangular shrine housing a Shiva linga. At bottom a monstrous goddess Kali raises four massive arms, one blithely swinging a severed head. Her body, with its distinctive double-block torso, is outlined in red and filled with blue stitches. The corpse below her feet is yellow outlined in green, and an adjacent blue elephant holds a second yellow-and-green figure, perhaps the living Shiva. Darielle Mason, from Kantha: The Embroidered Quilts of Bengal (2009), p. 198.