Kantha (Embroidered Quilt)

Artist/maker unknown, Bengali

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

Date:
Late 19th century

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

Dimensions:
32 3/4 x 34 inches (83.2 x 86.4 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1994-148-694

Credit Line:
Stella Kramrisch Collection, 1994

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Label:
Stitching kanthas was an art practiced by women in Bengal. Created from the remnants of worn garments, embroidered kanthas were usually made as gifts for special family occasions and served a variety of domestic and ritual functions. This kantha's seemingly sedate composition abounds with surprises, such as the row of five disparate roundels at left punctuating the otherwise uniform blossom border. At top Radha links hands with a chubby, indigo Krishna, while at bottom three small figures pull a multitiered ratha (processional chariot).

Additional information:
  • PublicationKantha: The Embroidered Quilts of Bengal

    The central lotus is so tightly quilted that it cannot lie flat and, by its dimensionality, becomes the primary element. The seemingly sedate composition abounds with surprises, such as the row of five disparate roundels at left punctuating the otherwise uniform blossom border. A conglomeration of whimsical animals, including two tubular cats, intertwines with the scenes. Fanciful corner plants contrast with two realistic dark green palm trees floating in the field. At top is a multitiered ratha (processional chariot), while at bottom, Radha links hands with an adorably chubby indigo Krishna. Darielle Mason, from Kantha: The Embroidered Quilts of Bengal (2009), p. 204.