Kantha quilt

Unknown maker

  • Date: 1880s
  • Dimensions: L. 90 cm, W. 83 cm
  • Medium: Cotton, quilted and embroidered
  • Region: Bengal
  • Museum number: TXT.00089

A large square Kantha quilt of thinly layered and embroidered cotton mainly in red and blue. The inner field is embroidered with a large center medallion. One of the corners features the famous Jagannath rath (chariot) of Puri. The other three corners depict a hookah smoking European man, a group of natives, and a group of animals. All on an undyed ground embroidered with the border of unevenly spaced smaller medallions.

Kanthas are the most interesting textiles from eastern India. Known as sujanis in Bihar they were mainly made for family use out of cast-off saris and dhotis whereas the threads for embroidering were taken from saris. Several layers of fabric were laid on top of each other and then quilted with the simple running stitch which produced an embroidery-like design whose details were filled in with satin and stem stitch. The conventional kanthas had a central medallion and four buttis/ trees, at the corners. The rest of the field was then embroidered with all manner of motifs: bird, fish, flowers, leaves, human figures, domestic scenes, religious figures etc. These were used as quilts, coverlets, and wraps.

By the Same Artist/Maker

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