Story Behind Kantha Quilts

Story behind Kantha Quilts

Kantha is the most prominent form of embroidery often practiced by rural women in east Asia, especially in India and Bangladesh. It is often used to make simple quilts, also known as Nakshi Kantha.

The traditional form of Kantha embroidery are usually handmade or hand-woven with soft saris and dhotis,with a running stitch along the edges. The finished products are known as sujni Kantha or lep Kantha depending on the use of the finished product. The embroidery are sometimes made into scarves,bags,covers for mirror,boxes,pillows and even bed covers.

Vintage Kantha quilts are products of 2-3 layers recycled Indian vintage saris- this could either be in cotton fabric or silk. They are usually covered with running stitches, employing beautiful designs of flowers,birds,animals,shapes as well as designs from everyday activities.

The origin of handmade kantha quilts can be traced to some very resourceful women centuries ago. Poor women in rural area of west Bengal in India needed blankets for their babies, so they sourced for the softest parts of their old cotton saris and handmade them together with an all-over running stitches. This unique stich came to be known as kantha, and this brought about the advent of handmade Kantha quilts. The best aspect of vintage or handmade Kantha quilts is how easy it is to repair patches,especially their loose and uneven threads that adds immense character to the throws. This completely hand-weaven vintage Kantha throws are such a beautiful and refreshing break from the mass produced machine made products.

This beautiful handcraft has gained more international recognition and acceptance as it portrays the beauty of india craftmanship. However, there are various types of kanthan quilts;

  1. Lep kantha quilts

The lep Kantha quilt is a much larger type of quilt used mostly during the winter season, in places with more severe winter experience, The lep Kantha quilt is mostly made up of 7 layers. Lotus is usually the central motif with the other designs coming up in small sewn stitches to present a wavy surface. It is also called lahari, lahari is known toean waves. The lep kantha quilts often has geometric patterns or designs. Motif designs of plants and trees can be prominently seen.

  1. Sujni Kantha quilts

             The prominent sujni kantha quilt is generally four and a half feet wide and six feet long in measurement. It is often used as bedspread for guests to sit or lie on . just like the lep kantha quilts, the sujni kantha quilts equally usually have a lotus motif in the center,border designed with different kinds of plants and flowers. It reflects the rich art of Bengal embroidery. The sujni kantha can be classified into two categories. The anchal bunani  where designs resemble the end of a sari, then there is the Dorokha kantha,design also appear in identical form in the back of the kantha quilting making it a reversible kantha quilt.

  1. As an kantha quilting

This is usually used during functions for guest to sit. In Bangladesh it is also also known as khat or bed kantha, khat means bed. In other words it could be referred to as blanket size kantha quit, its motif are related to religious belief.

  1. Shawl kantha quilt

This kantha quilt is usually used to wrap the body and has only two layers of fabric and its motif is dotted with flowers and plants in the center and rows of decorative embroidery along the border.

Indian kantha quilts is today being appreciated around the world for its beauty and uniqueness. Shop Kantha quilts.

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