Kantha embroidery draws our attention to the resourcefulness of our women in the past, their sustainable way of living, and the socio-cultural life. The rural women reused the pieces of fabric, threads and fashioned them into a new product. Kantha is primarily a traditional embroidery craft from east and west Bengal, and parts of Bihar.
The craft has been around us for centuries, being passed on from generation to generation, but there is no known specimen earlier than 1800 CE.
Kantha embroidery draws our attention to the resourcefulness of our women in the past, their sustainable way of living, and the socio-cultural life
The rural women reused the pieces of fabric, threads and fashioned them into a new product.
There are different kinds of Kanthas which are made for different purposes.
Lep Kantha – It is an embroidered wrap for body, to be used during winters.
Oar Kantha – It is a rectangular pillow cover
Sujni Kantha – The word sujni is derived from the word ‘sojan’ which means sewn cloth. It is an embroidered ceremonial wrap. It can also be used as a sitting mat to honour guests during ceremonial occasions such as weddings. These are also used as bed covers. These are generally rectangular in shape.
Baytan Kantha – It is used as a wrap for books and valuables. These are generally square in shape. There is a wide border with several rows of human and animal designs. The centre has an elaborate lotus.
Durjani Kantha – It consists of square wraps which are stitched together to form a wallet. It has an embroidered border and elaborate lotus in the middle. It can be used to hold rosary beads, betel nuts, money, etc.
Arshilata Kantha – It literally translates to mirror Kantha, but its utility is to wrap and cover. These wraps are used for mirrors and combs, and are narrower and rectangular. It has a wide border on all four sides.
Rumal Kantha – Like its name suggests, it is used as a handkerchief. Its centre consists of a lotus with other traditional motifs around it.