Monday, February 18, 2019

Kantha Embroidery

Kantha is perhaps the oldest form of Indian embroidery originating from the cities of Bangladesh and West Bengal.
Traditionally, women would take several old and used saris, layer them together and employ different running stitches to decorate them and crate unique quilts and blankets. The word kantha refers to the running stitch used in alternate or parallel repeats.
The running stitch/ kantha is the source of uniqueness of this type of embroidery because  it creates a wondrous visual interest and amazing texture with the slightly wrinkled and wavy effect the fabric acquires. The kantha also emphasizes the Indian cultural principal of reusing and recycling old cloths and garments. Another interesting point is that the threads used for the embroidery are taken from the borders of saris, with which the life of used fabric is elongated and most often heirloom pieces are created.
There are 7 different types of Kantha stitches.
The first kind is the Lep Kantha, which is used to make warm, padded quilts. Then there is the Sujani Kantha which is used to make bed covers for ceremonial occasions. Baiton Kantha is used on covers meant to wrap books and other precious objects.
Oaar Kantha is used on pillow covers, while Archilata Kantha is used for covering mirrors and usually comes with colorful motifs and borders. Durjani Kantha is small pieces used to make the insides of a wallet, and the last kind is the Rumal Kantha which is used to cover plates, and come with a lotus motif right in the center.


Resources I used to write this post:
1. Coveting Kantha
2. Kantha
3. Kantha Embroidery


Ecehan said...

Çoook sevdim bu bilgileri. Çok mantıklı ayrıca bu iş. İyi ki paylaştınız, sevgiler size...

Alhana said...

This is so interesting, Maya. It somehow reminds me of Japanese sashiko embroidery, which was used to mend clothes and elongate their lives too. Thank you for sharing!

Maya Kuzman said...

I thought the same when I saw the cosmetic bags and the quilt Alhana! But it was actually the saris in the last picture that led me to discovering Kantha, and later I found the others. So, once again, it seems that handcrafts transcend across lands and cultures.

Maya Kuzman said...

Glad you like it Ecehan!

Kim said...

This is a great post, Maya. Being married to a man who was born in India and lived there for eighteen years, I have always been fascinated by Indian culture; textiles, saris, fabrics, kantha etc etc.

Kippi O'Hern said...

Beautiful fabrics and embroidery. Happy Weekend, Kippi #kippiathome