Kanthas are embroidered quilts from Bengal, usually made from old lengths of patched material.

This one, however, is from a simple unpatched piece of unbleached cotton. Although the identity of the embroiderer is not known the name of the person who commissioned the kantha, Sri Kali Nath Rakshit, has been incorporated into the embroidery. The central floral medallion is surrounded by borders of lively human and animal figures, including soldiers and horses. Auspicious paisley (or buta) and fish motifs also appear. Most of the embroidery is in running stitch, the most popular stitch used for kanthas, although the double running stitch and backstitch have also been used. This kantha recalls a number of traditions, including rangolis or floor paintings, and Kalighat paintings.


Commissioned for Sri Kali Nath Rakshit; dealer in Bombay.

Cartwright Hall Art Gallery

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