BOOK OF THE MONTH – KANTHA EMBROIDERY

December 22, 2013

Kantha is a traditional art from Eastern India.  Old pieces of textiles – usually worn out saris and dhotis (usually made of mulmul or thin cotton cloth) were layered and stitched together to form quilts. The stitches used to attach the layers together took on artistic forms and these forms evolved to be known as Kantha work.  The original concept was to use the layered cloth as quilts – one of the many ways of ‘recycling’ old used garments.

nac133

EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK

Every poor woman in the villages and towns of Bangladesh continued to stitch kanthas as women had in the past—putting together old saris and lungis when their initial purpose had been served and the cloth become too trail and worn out through repeated washings to stand up Io further wear. Outside the dismal huts in every slum, cotton quilts hung up to air and dry In most middle—class families as well, kanthas were used instead of light blankets during cool nights. But these were put together with a minimum of needlework and were meant for private use, not public display. The kind of kantha that the Sonargaon hotel displayed was a thing of the past, Different modes of life and different ideas of aesthetics had caused a fading of interest in indigenous art. The two- hundred-year domination of the Indian subcontinent by the British had led to a substitution of the western for the indigenous, whether it was in language, dress, education, or art.

***

In the early years of the twentieth century, the struggle for independence and the swadeshi movement led to the evocation of an Indian identity. Deep-seated emotions, however, soon led, as is well-known, to the two-nation theory and the sense of a Pakistani identity, separate from an Indian one. The attempt at creating a Pakistani identity, however, broke down soon after partition. The proclamation that Urdu alone would be the state language of Pakistan led to protests in East Pakistan as early as 1948. In l952, the language struggle reached such an extreme that people in Dhaka city broke Section l44~prohibiting the gathering of more than three persons-to demand that Bangla be recognized as one of the state languages of Pakistan. Over the years, the celebrations during February, commemorating the Language Movement and the Language martyrs, had emerged in a distinctly Bengali culture. Centering upon the Language Movement grew a Bangladeshi cultural awareness that consciously opposed the cultural domination of Pakistan. This awareness led to the adoption of an indigenous art form at commemorations of the language struggle. The women’s art of alpana in particular was used to ornament the paths around the Shaheed Minar, the monument marking the spot where young Bengalis had laid down their lives.

While alpana art was used almost defiantly in the face of the Pakistani masters who could not appreciate the art of the alpana, and also hated and feared it as unlslamic and suggestive of black magic, the art of the kantha was an almost forgotten one. Kanthas had disappeared from public,…………

***

Interesting history!

Some pictures from the Gurusaday Museum

kantha_betan_cs

Detail of a 19th century Baytan Kantha used as a Food Cover

kantha-manada

19th century Sujni Kantha

   kantha_batua

kantha_cat

19th Century Sujni Kantha

d_book3

A page from Design Book of Mursidabadi Silk collected by Shri Abonindranath Tagore

A new textile category to explore!!

jm

dec 2013

The post BOOK OF THE MONTH – KANTHA EMBROIDERY appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.





Also in Wovensouls Blog on Textile Art, Ethnic Jewelry, Folk Paintings & Manuscripts

No Shoes Indoors

May 09, 2019

The origins of this  gently-but-strictly enforced rule in all traditional Asian homes might be many. But I think the real reason is the art that is displayed on the floor…. … Continue reading

The post No Shoes Indoors appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.

Continue Reading

A Note on Phulkari Classification

April 30, 2019

A compilation of my jottings on Phulkaris Textiles of Punjab

The post A Note on Phulkari Classification appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.

Continue Reading

Bronze Art for the Rug Lover

April 24, 2019

Bronze Art by Franz Bergman seen on the internet: Cute eh? Shall we conclude that he loved rugs as well? These are cold-painted bronzes which were first cast in the … Continue reading

The post Bronze Art for the Rug Lover appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.

Continue Reading