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Kantha (Embroidered Quilt)

Artist/maker unknown, Bengali

Made in Jessore District, Bangladesh, Asia
or West Bengal, India, Asia

Second half of 19th century

Cotton plain weave with cotton embroidery in back, buttonhole, chain, darning, satin, running, brick, eye, zig zag variation, and star stitches

6 feet 2 1/2 inches × 53 inches (189.2 × 134.6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Stella Kramrisch, 1968

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This kantha is one of a group attributed to women of a particular community of weavers based around the Jessore District of Undivided Bengal. Its lines of repeat motifs and use of striated colors call to mind the patterns of loom-woven cloth. In the embroideries, however, the designs are not restricted by the warp and weft of an actual loom but freely tilt and turn the multicolored "woven" motifs as needed. The corner kalkas (paisley motifs) are embroidered differently from the rest of the surface and resemble the embroidered "Kashmir" shawls that likewise arose from a weaving tradition and were popular in Bengal at this time. On the back of the cloth is embroidered the name Mrs. Khirada Sundaridevi-perhaps the embroiderer herself, perhaps the recipient.