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A Beautiful Bengali Kantha: Extremely Fine All-Over Stitching

Written on December 6, 2010

I just love kanthas, the intensely stitched and richly varied textiles of Bangladesh and West Bengal, India.  Today I am showing one which I think is just beautiful.I’ve written about kantha before on this blog, and this entry here speaks about this marvelous folk art form.This particular, layered cotton kantha shows exceedingly fine, small stitches that cover the entirety of the surface of this “quilt.”  The small stitches on this kantha are impressive as they are much finer than those on many larger kanthas, as this one is.

This kantha is repaired, probably by a woman in the family who made this kantha.  I’ve shown several details of this area here, above, and in several photos below this one.The Philadelphia Museum of Art has a fantastic collection of kanthas and just mounted a major exhibition. The museum also published a magnificent catalogue to the exhibition, one of the few, available in-depth documents on this art form.

Can you see how tiny these stitches truly are?

This kantha measures 62″ x 46″ or 157.5 cm x 117 cm.

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  1. Comment by Eva:

    A wonderful piece! And, as the slightly helpless repair shows, it was cherished by its owners.

    “the universe is envisioned as a fabric woven by the gods”, a quote from the other posting. The word “tantra” means “weave”, it has a connection with Latin, tegere, tectum. The full range of phenomena is seen as something woven, also because of interwoven connections between all beings and things, connections created by karma.

    December 7, 2010 @ 1:49 am