Skip to main content

Kantha (Embroidered Quilt)

Late 19th century
Artist/maker unknown, Bengali
This charmingly intricate kantha highlights elaborate scenes of urban pleasures including two babus embracing their courtesan companions (lower panel). Similar couples enjoy a jaunt in a pleasure boat, its snake-eating peacock prow with whimsically dangling legs (top border). Others appreciate music and dance performances. The sumptuous contexts are emphasized by hanging lanterns, birdcages, curving European-style furniture, and fabric awnings. Certain images, such as the line of men with sticks (right border) may reflect specifically Muslim festivals and practices. In Bangladesh, when kantha-stitching was revived during the late 1970s and early 1980s to provide women a livelihood, this well-published kantha acted as a virtual pattern book for designers and its motifs appeared in a wide range of products.

Object Details

We are always open to learning more about our collections and updating the website. Does this record contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? Contact us here.

Please note that this particular artwork might not be on view when you visit. Don’t worry—we have plenty of exhibitions for you to explore.