The Kantha tradition in Bengal began centuries ago with the idea of layering and stitching old fabrics to transform them into warm quilts or wraps to be used on a cold winter’s day. Old worn out saris were reused including its threads for the purpose of patching and quilting which in time came to be supplemented with the art of embroidery. The earliest reference of Kantha can be found in the Rig Veda while Panini’s Astadhayayi dating back to the 4thcentury CE describes this artform quite vividly.
The Weavers Studio Resource Centre, Kolkata has over a hundred traditional Kantha pieces in its collection. The exhibited pieces have been selected on the basis of being the most unique and distinct old kantha textiles belonging to the collection. It showcases a variety of designs and motifs with a range of utilitarian products including ashon kanthas (seats), bostanis (wrappers), arshilata and spreads. The pieces showcase the diversity of stitches including chatai, running, darning and more executed with natural dyes to compose intricately depicted scenes of nature, mythology, religion and the contemporary socio-cultural situations. These pieces were more than works of art with utilitarian values, they represented the voice of rural women of Bengal.
Collection of: Weavers Studio Resource Centre