Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Wikimedia Commons

Older saris and lungis were turned into quilts, and so it was essential to ensure that they were presentable enough to use in case guests came to spend a few days.

The Bengali tradition of stitching one's own quilt passed down from the Vedic age, through the maternal lineage of rural women. Both the rich landowner and the farmer's wife would spend their free time embroidering motifs on their quilts. Since each represented the woman's heritage, regardless of class, the beauty of the stitch remains unique. This skill was passed down as dowry from mother to daughter.

Kantha work, or the tradition of the straight stitch on cloth, disappeared for a while during the 1900s and was revived by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore's daughter. During the Partition, it was discontinued once again, as the Bengalis had to bear the worst of the tragedy. After the Liberation War in 1971, this craft became well acclaimed.


A kantha bed sheet Bedsheet featuring kantha work on display in a museum Image source: wikimedia commons


The Bengalis devised a unique system of recycling old cotton clothes. Instead of turning them into rags, if they still were in reasonably good condition, they were embroidered upon. The thread was drawn from the original cloth itself, and Kantha was born as a craft. It is, traditionally, the work of the women in households, to make sure clothes are well-regulated. Older saris and lungis were turned into quilts, and so it was essential to ensure that they were presentable enough to use in case guests came to spend a few days.

A woman holding up a kantha quilt Muslim women design only geometric patterns as the Quran does not encourage life forms in art. This type is called par tola. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Since the designs were mostly unique to each family, it was passed down from one generation to the other. Sometimes, the work was so elaborate that multiple generations worked on the same cloth for years. Newer Kantha designs feature folklore and mythological scenes. In Bengali, 'Nakshi kantha' which translates to artistic patterns, depicts the lives of the women in terms of social and religious spheres. Muslim women design only geometric patterns as the Quran does not encourage life forms in art. This type is called par tola.

Modern-day Nakshi kantha Women used to design special fabrics to swaddle their babies in. It was believed that this brought good luck. Image source: wikimedia commons


Women used to design special fabrics to swaddle their babies in. It was believed that this brought good luck. These designs were also used when stitching clothes for prayer mats, to cover holy books, or to prepare gifts for guests. These days, Kantha is done on silk as well, but it is more time-consuming because silk slips so much.

Keywords: Kantha, Sarees, Bengal, Fabric, Embroidery


Popular

Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

The plea asked the Election Commission to ensure that every political party publishes each candidate's criminal records.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to examine a seeking direction to the Election Commission to de-register a political party, which fails to comply with the court's direction to disclose criminal antecedents of candidates fielded in polls. Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay requested a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli to list the petition urgently, against the backdrop of the ongoing election process. He contended that nomination for the first phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election has started, and the political parties and candidates are brazenly violating the top court judgments.

After briefly hearing Upadhyay, the bench said: "We will consider it... will give a date".

Keep Reading Show less
Unsplash

In 2018, state heads of ASEAN countries graced the occasion with their presence.

There will be no chief guest at the Republic Day parade this year also as the plan to host state heads of five Central Asian countries -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan -- seems to have been cancelled due to the Covid situation in India as well as in the respective nations. Though the Ministry of External Affairs is yet to confirm this officially.

Also Read : Republic Day 2021: Significance of the Day and highlights of the Parade

Keep Reading Show less
Unsplash

Infection with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and biofilm formation halt healing progress.

A team of scientists from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) have found a cure for those suffering from chronic wounds, particularly with diabetic foot ulcers. The team led by Prof Gopal Nath of the department of Microbiology, Institute of Medical Sciences, said that wounds that took months and years to heal, could now be cured in days or months. The findings of study have been published in the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, National Institutes of Health, US.

Also Read : Researchers develop Hydrogel to treat infections in wound

Keep reading... Show less