Kantha (Embroidered Quilt)

Artist/maker unknown, Bengali

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

19th century

Cotton plain weave with cotton embroidery in back, buttonhole, chain, darning, satin, split, running, arrowhead, eye, zig zag with backstitch variation, and dot stitches

22 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches (57.2 x 21 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Stella Kramrisch Collection, 1994

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At times, the stitching on the front (the side from which the embroiderer worked) and the back of kanthas presents a mirror image, a quality called dorukha (do=two; rukh=face, direction). In general, kanthas uniquely exploit the versatility of the simple running stitch, using it to yield not only textured background effects but also to outline and fill individual motifs. Here, as in many kanthas, the patterns imitate those of the woven sari borders from which the colored threads, themselves, were pulled.