Revealing the History of Kantha

Today, Kantha embroidery work has become the fashion label in the Indo-Western world. Lets find out the fascinating history of this unique art form that remained in mystery until it was revived.

Indian textiles have the long and vast history. The textiles with their signature embroideries explicit themselves in the modern world of today’s fashion. Fashion designers have named this nine yard mystique a ‘Renaissance of style’.

Saris were first originated in India. Some of its finest examples can be traced from the sculptures dating back to the 100 BC. Saris are basically unstitched length of cloth measuring 42- 19” wide and 5.5 to 9 yards which were earlier spun in textile machines that have today become the bequest of our times as hand loom saris.

Kantha is a art form that belongs particularly to West Bengal. Earlier the Kantha saris were usually drape by the women of West Bengal as to protect themselves against the cold.

Kantha work involve complex artistic work done by the weavers with the blend of exquisite embroidery in ornamental running stitch. The traditional work on the Kantha saris in the form of floral motifs, animals and birds figures and geometric shapes looks amazingly fabulous.

Renowned fashion designers in India working on western styles and fashions, still make great use of the ethnic traditions and their designs often depict the rich embroidery work of the earlier craftsmen, celebrating Indian textile tradition.

There are seven different types of Kantha. First is the ‘Archilata Kantha’ that involves the great mirror work with the wide, decorative borders. The second one is the ‘Baiton Kantha’, that are square wraps used for covering the books and valuables. The most famous is the ‘Lep Kantha’ which are rectangular wraps, used to cover the quilts. Then there is ‘Oaar Kantha’, found in the pillow covers in simple designs on which a decorative border is actually sewn afterwards.

Not less competitive is the ‘Sujani Kantha’, the quilted Kantha used as blankets on the special occasions. Last but not the least is the ‘Rumal Kantha’ that are used as the rubefacient wipes or plate coverings

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