Kantha (Embroidered Quilt)

Artist/maker unknown, Bengali

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

Date:
Second half of 19th century

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

Dimensions:
38 1/2 x 37 inches (97.8 x 94 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1994-148-704

Credit Line:
Stella Kramrisch Collection, 1994

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Label:
Two multitiered rathas (processional chariots) with elaborate trussed construction, each pulled by a single horse, dominate the lower portion of this finely stitched square kantha. A tiny Shiva linga (a pillarlike icon) visible in each of the upper chambers indicates that these rathas are taking part in a religious procession. Also in the lower panel is a man dressed in what is likely a nineteenth-century military uniform, including boots, a short jacket, and a cap. The top left square encloses a single man with a conical hat, while the far right square frames a fashionable Calcutta couple. Though stitched for an intimate, familial context, kanthas give expression to the rich complexity of urban life in Bengal.