Saturday, December 18, 2010

Embroidery - Kantha of Bengal

In every part of the world embroidery work had been the special preserve of the ladies of the household, wherein they could give expression to their creative abilities and artistic talents. The ladies of Bengal also have been practicing this household craft from time immemorial and specimens of heir work is best exemplified in the Kanthas which has now become widely known and appreciated.
Kanthas are discarded saries placed upon one another sewn and quilted on which designis are embroidered with coloured threads fom broders of old saries. In some Kanthas te embroidery starts from the centre with a lotus motif and goes round and round to decorate the centre of the field. In another the tree of loves starts from the four corners and reach towards the centre. In another type available space is divided into panels each field in with rich embroidery. The designs are limitless, every women working on any innovation that takes her fancy. But there are some basic traditional designs which are found to be repeated. Some of the rituals designs are Kalasa Mandala, Sankha etc, are frequently seen. The whole work when completed achieves marvelous reasults and the most common materials  are endowed with uncommon distinction. In the word of Dr. Stella Kramrisch – ‘the interpretation of the coloured design stitched into the ground and of design result in a unity of substance and techniques by which a new texture is effected; the old rags are not only joined but appear transformed; the white ground with its ripples and patches is now alive with a throbbing or velvety texture;’ the dead rags are changed into a vital and rich whole of multi-coloured pattern and meaning.’
The endevour of Gurusaday Dutta for revival of Kantha stitching needs special attention. His collection of Kantha from various corners of Bengal is a rich treasure in the Gurusaday Museum in Joka.
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