kantha (Shawl)

About this object

History of use

Kanthas are a tradition of East Bengal, now common to a larger area including West Bengal, where this kantha was made. They are made by women, rarely by Brahmin women, and are given as presents within the family or friends. Some references deny any religious significance, seeing the re-use of old cloth as strictly utilitarian.

Cultural context

a wrap

Physical description

Embroidered textile stitched together from old cloth. At least four, possibly more, pieces stitched together to form a rectangle. Multi-coloured border of several rows of running stitch. Motifs of insect, floral, leaves, animals, birds, umbrella, airplane, lanterns. Design in centre of lotus flower encircled by Sanskrit slogan.