Kantha (Embroidered Quilt)

Artist/maker unknown, Bengali

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

Late 19th or early 20th century

Cotton plain weave with cotton embroidery in back, darning, satin, dot, and single-sided stitches

6 feet 5 1/4 inches × 56 inches (196.2 × 142.2 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection, 2009

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The embroiderer of this magnificently rippled and puckered quilt fully exploits the kantha's possibilities for three-dimensionality. Lines of stitches in a combination of red and indigo run parallel to the white stitching at regular intervals to create a truly topographical effect. All of the motifs, even the faces of the human figures, are done in pattern darning that liberally intersperses white with the blue or red to give them a lacelike delicacy that heightens rather than overwhelms the invigorated ground.