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Patch Tapestry Purse

22 February 2011

Patch Tapestry Purse

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Patch Tapestry Purse

Nakshi Kantha

Etymology

The word kantha has no satisfactory etymological root. The exact time of origin of kantha is not accurately known but it probably had a precursor in kheta (khet in Hindi and Bangla means "field"). According to Niaz Zaman the word kantha originated from Sanskrit word kontha meaning rags as kantha is made of rags.

The Kantha Tradition

Like any other folk art kantha making is influenenced by the factors like materials available, daily needs, climate, geography, economic factors. Probably the earliest form of kantha was the patch work kantha and the kanthas of decorative applique type evolved from this.

Kantha in Literature

The earliest mention of Bengal Kantha is found in the book, "Sri Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita" by Krishnadas Kaviraj which was written some five hundred years back.

Kantha Making

Traditionally old saree, lungi and dhoti were used to make kantha. Kantha making was not a full time job and women of almost every household were expert in the art. Rural women worked at leasure time or during the lazy days of rainy season, thus taking months or even years to finish a kantha was normal. At least 5/7 sarees were needed to make a standard size kantha. Today the old materials are replaced by new cotton cloths. Traditionally the thread was collected from the old sarees which is rarely in practise today.

When making a kantha first the sharees are joined together to attain the required size and then layers are spread on the ground. The cloths are smoothed leaving no folds or creases in between. During the process the cloth is kept flat on the ground with weights on the edges. Then the four edges are stitched and two or three rows of large running stitches are done to keep the kantha together. At this stage the kantha can be folded and stitched at leisure time.

Originally designs and motifs were not drawn on the cloth. The design was first outlined with needle and thread followed by focal points and then the filling motifs were done. In a kantha with a predominant central motif the centre was done first, followed by corner designs and the other details. In some types of kanthas (carpet, lik and sujni, etc) wooden blocks were used to print the outline. The blocks are replaced today by patterns drawn in tracing papers.

Different Types of Kantha

Niaz Zaman in her book The Art of KANTHA Embroidery classified the kanthas in following categories according to the stitch employed:

Running Stitch kantha: Running stitch kantha is truly the indigenous kantha. They are subdevided into Nakshi or figured and par tola or patterned. Nakshi or figured kanthas are again divided into motif kantha or scenic ones.

Lohori Kantha: The name derived from Persian word ehr meaning meaning wave. This kantha is particularly popular in Rajshahi. These kanthas are further divided into soja (straight or simple) kantha, Kautar khupi (pegion coop or triangle), borfi or diamond (charchala, atchala or barachala etc).

Lik or Anarasi (pine apple) Kantha: Found in Chapainawabgonj and Jessore area. The variations are lik tan, lik tile, lik jhumka, lik lohori.

Cross Stitch or Carpet Kantha: This kantha was introduced by the English during the British Rule in India. The stitch employed in these kanthas are cross stitch.

Sujni Kantha: This kantha is Found only in Rajshahi area.The popular motif used is undulating floral and vine motif.

Influence of Religion and Folk Belief

Kantha Stitches

The earliest and most basic stitch found in kanthas is the running stitch. The predominant form of this stitch is called kantha the phor or kantha stitch. The other form of stitches used are Chatai or pattern darning, Kaitya or bending stitch, weave running stitch darning, Jessore stitch(a variation of darning stitch), threaded running stitch, Lik phor or anarasi or ghar hasia (Holbein stitch). The stitches used in modern day kantha are the Kasmiri stitch and the arrow head. Stitches like herring bone, satin stitch, back stitch and cross stitch are occasionally used

Various Articles

Kanthas generally denote quilts used as wrappers; all articles made by quilting old cloth may also be referred to by the same generic name. However, depending on the size and purpose kanthas may be divided into various articles, each with its specific names. The various articles of kantha are as follows:

Quilt (lep in Bangla)

A light quilted covering made from the old sarees/dhotis/lungis and sometimes from sheet cloths.

Large spread (Naksi Kantha in Bangla)

An embellished quilt embroidered in traditional motifs and innovative style

Puja floor spread (Ason in Bangla)

Cloth spraed for sitting at a place of worship or for honoured guest.

Cosmetic wrapper (Arshilota in Bangla)

A narrow embroidered wrapper to roll and store away a woman's comb, mirror, eye kohl,vermilion, sandal paste, oil bottle etc.Often a tying string is found to bind the wrap as in later day satches.

Wallet (Batwa thoiley in Bangla)

Small envelop shaped bag for keeping money, betel leaves etc.

Cover for Quran (ghilaf in Arabic and Bangla)

Envelope shaped bag to cover the Holy Quran

Prayer mats (Jainamaz in Bangla)

Mats used by Muslims to say prayers.

Floor spread (Galicha in Bangla)

Coverings for floor.

Cloths wrapper (Bostani, guthri in Bangla)

A square wrapper for books and other valuables.

Cover (Dhakni in Bangla)

Covering cloths of various shapes and sizes.

Ceremonial meal spread (Daster khan in Bangla)

A spread for eating place, used at meal time.

Pillow cover (Balisher chapa or oshar in Bangla)

A flat single piece pillow cover.

Handkerchief (Rumal)

Small and square in shape.

Modern day articles

Today newer uses are found for nakshi kanthas like bedspreads, wall hanging, cushon covers, ladies' purses, place mats, jewellary boxes, dress fronts, skirts border, shawls and sharees

Motifs

Motifs of the nakshi kantha are deeply influenced by religious belief and culture. Even though no specific strict symmetry is followed a finely embroidered naksi kantha will always have a focal point. Most kanthas will have a lotus as focal point, around the lotus there are undulating vines or floral motifs or shari border motifs. The motifs may include images of flower and leaves, birds and fish, animals, kithen forms even toilet articles.

While most kantas have some initial pattern, no two naksi kantas are same. Traditionals motifs are repeated, the individualtouch in variety of stitches, colours and shapes. The notabale motifs found in naksi kantha are as follows:

The Lotus Motif

Lotus motif

Lotus motif is the most common motif found in kanthas. This motif is associated with Hindu iconography and thus is also very popular in the kantha. Lotus is the devine seat, it is also symbolic of cosmic harmony and essential womanhood. Lotus is the symbol of eternal order, of the union earth water and sky. It represents the life giving power of water but is also associated with the sun for the opening and closing of the petals. It is also the symbol of recreating power of life. With the drying up of water the lotus dies and with the rain it springs to life again. Lotus is associated with purity and the goddess Laksmi, the goddess of good fortune and abundance. There are various forms of lotus motifs like eight-petalled astadal padma to the hundred petalled satadal. In the older kanthas the central motif is almost always a fully bloomed lotus seen from above.

The Solar Motif

The solar motif ic closely associated with the lotus motif. Often the lotus and the solar motifs are found together at in the centre of a nakshi kantha. The solar motif symbolizes the life giving power of the sun. The sun is associated with the fire which plays a significant part in Hindu rites, religious and matrimonial.

The Moon Motif

The moon motif has a religious influence and is popular amongst the Muslims. Mostly it is in the form of crescent accompanied by a star. The motif is particularly found in jainamaz kanthas.

The Wheel Motif

The wheel is a common symbol in Indian art, both Hindu and buddhist. It is the symbol of order and order. The wheel also represents the world. The wheel is a popular motif in kanthas even when the maker has forgotten the significance of the symbol. The motif is relatively easy to make with chatai phor.

The Swastika Motif

Swastika

Seals of Indus Valley, top right is Swastika

Su asti in Sanskrit means it is well. As a motif in Indian art it dates back to Indus Valley civilization. It is symbol of good fortune. It is also known as muchri or golok dhanda. With the passage of time the design is more curvilinear than the four armed swastika of the Mohenjodaro seal. The synmbolic design has significant influence in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

The Tree of Life Motif

Contemporary Nakshi Kantha (used as a wall hanging) with animal, fish, butterfly, tree and human figure motif

The influence of this motif in Indian Art and Culture (as with kantha) may be traced back to Indus Valley civilization. It is likely that the Indus people conceived the pipal as the Tree of Life...with the devata inside embodying the power of fecundity. During the Buddhist times the cult of tree continued. Pipal is sacred to the Buddha because he received enlightenment under its shade. It reflects the fecundity of nature and is very popular in Bengal. Vines and Creepers play an important role in kanthas and they contain the same symbolisation as that of tree of life. A popular motif in Rajshahi lohori is betel leaf.

The Kalka Motif

Close view of Kalka motif

This is a latter day motif, dating from Mughal times. Kalka or paisley motif originated in Persia and Kashmir and has become an integral image of the subcontinental decorative motif. It can be compared with a stylized leaf,mango or flame. The kalka is an attractive motif and number of varieties are experimented. Similar motifs can be found in traditional kashmiri Shawls.

The Water Motif:

The Mountain Motif:

The Fish Motif:

The Boat Motif:

The Footprint Motif:

The Rath[disambiguation needed] Motif:

The Mosque Motif:

The Panja or Open Palm Motif:

Agricultural Implements:

Animal Motifs:

Toilet Articles:

Kithen Implements:

The Kantha Motif:

The Palanquin Motif:

Borders

Borders from the top:rice stalk, scorpion, pea, eye, wavy or bent, amulet

From the top: shamuk taga, eye bordr, wrench border, miscellenious borders, wave border, diamond border

Most nakshi kanthas have some kind border either a sari border is stitched on or a border pattern is embridered around kantha. The common border found in kanthas are as follows:

From the top: necklace border, ladder border, gut taga, chik taga, nose ring border, fish border, panch taga, bisa taga, anaj taga

The Paddy stalk or date branch (dhaner shish or khejur chari)

The Scorpion border(Biche par in bangla)

The Wavy or bent Border (Beki in bangla)

The Diamond border (Barfi)

The Eye border (chok par in bangla)

The Amulet border (Taabiz par in bangla)

The Necklace border (mala par in bangla)

The Ladder Border (Moi taga)

The Gut taga

The Chick taga

The nolok taga

The Fish border (Maach par in bangla)

The panch taga

The Bisa taga

The Anaj taga

The shamuk taga

The wrench border

The anchor (grafi par in bangla)

The pen border (kalam par in bangla)

Kanthas of Different Areas

Modern day kantha

Kantha Collections

Bangladesh

Bangla Academy

Design Centre, BSCIC

Folk Art and Crafts Foundation

Bangladesh National Museum Official Website

India

Ashutosh Museum, Kolkata Official Website

Calico Museum of Textiles, Ahmedabad Official Website

Gurusaday Museum, ThakurpurOfficial Website

Organizations which make Nakshi Kantha

Bangladesh Rural Development Board (BRDB),Karu Palli Sales Centre Official Website

Kumudini Handicrafts (cares): Official Website

BRAC-Aarong: Official Website

References

^ Nakshi Kantha-Benhal Craft accessed on: 10 November 2008

^ Nakshi Kantha-Banglapedia accessed on: 10 November 2008

^ Quilt (kantha) Art of Bengal accessed on:10 November 2008.

^ R Ghuznabi Sayyada; AKSHA A Collection of Designs of Bangladesh (October 1981) page-23; Design Centre: Bangladesh Small & Cottage Industries Corporation

^ Dutt Gurusaday; ALBUM OF ART TREASURE KANTHA (Series One)(1995); Published by: GURUSADAY DUTT FOLK ART SOCIETY, GURUSADAY MUSEUM, Bratacharigram, PO: Joka, 24-Parganas, INDIA

^ Sirajuddin, Muhammad; Living Crafts in Bangladesh; (January 1992), page-44; Markup International, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

^ www.brac-aarong.com accessed on: 09 December 2008

^ R Ghuznabi Sayyada; AKSHA A Collection of Designs of Bangladesh (October 1981), page-23,24; Design Centre: Bangladesh Small & Cottage Industries Corporation.

^ Ahmad, Perveen; The Aesthetics & Vocabulary of NAKSHI KANTHA (1997); Bangladesh National Museum ISBN 984 585 000 6

^ Lecure by Perveen Ahmad at INGCA

^ Zaman, Niaz; The Art of KANTHA Embroidery (Second Revised Edition-1993), page-36, The University Press Limited, Dhaka, Bangladesh; ISBN 984 05 1228 5

^ Zaman, Niaz; The art of KANTHA Embroidery, (Second Revised Edition 1993); The University Press Limited, Dhaka, Bangladesh; ISBN 985 05 1228 5

^ Dutt, Gurusaday; Album of Art Treasure KANTHA(Series One)(1995); Gurusaday Dutt Folk Art Society, Gurusaday Museum, 24 Parganas. India

^ http://sos-arsenic.net/lovingbengal/quilt.html accessed on 02 January 2009

^ Zaman, Niaz; The Art of KANTHA Embridery(Second Revised Edition:1993), page-114, The University Press Limited, Dhaka, bangladesh; ISBN 984 05 1228 5

^ Zaman, Niaz; The Art of KANTHA Embridery (Second Revised Edition: 1993), Page-44,45;The University Press Limited,Dhaka, Bangladesh: ISBN 984 05 1228 5

^ Zaman, Niaz; The Art of KANTHA Embridery (Second Revised Edition;1993); The University Press Limited,Dhaka, Bangladesh: ISBN 984 05 1228 5

^ Ahmad, Perveen; The Aesthetics & Vocabulary of NAKSHI KANTHA (1997), page-v; Bangladesh National Museum: ISBN 984 585 000 6

^ Mukerjee Radhakamal, The Flowering of Indian Art,Bombay, 1964, page-35

^ Zaman Niaz, The Art of KANTHA Emroidery; (Second Revised Edition-1993), page-82;The University Press Limited,Dhaka,Bangladesh; ISBN 984 05 1228 5

^ Ahmad Perveen, The Aesthetics & Vocabulary of NAKSHI KANTHA(1997), page-92; Bangladesh Natinal Museum,Dhaka,Bangladesh: ISBN 984 585 000 6

^ Zaman, Niaz; The Art of KANTHA Embridery(1993), page-94; The University Press Limited,Dhaka, Bangladesh: ISBN 984 05 1228 5

External links

Saffron Designs

Quilt (Kantha) Art of Bengal

The Beautiful Art of Nakshi Kantha

Lecture delivered by Perveen Ahmad at IGNCA on 'Aesthetics and Vocabolary of Nakshi Kantha'

Kantha Embroidery-www.Indian embroidery.com

independennt-bangladesh.com-naksi-kantha

Banglapedia-Nakshi Kantha

Gurusaday Museum, India

Bangladesh National Museum

www.brac-arang.com

Kantha Embroidery of West Bengal

Further reading

Dutt, Gurusaday;ALBUM OF ART TREASURE KANTHA (Series One)(1995); Published by: GURUSADAY DUTT FOLK ART SOCIETY, GURUSADAY MUSEUM, Bratacharigram, PO: Joka, 24-Parganas, INDIA

R Ghuznabi Sayyada; NAKSHA A Collection of Designs of Bangladesh (October 1981); Design Centre: Bangladesh Small & Cottage Industries Corporation, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Sirajuddin, Muhammad; Living Crafts in Bangladesh; (January 1992), Markup International, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Zaman, Niaz; The Art of KANTHA Embroidery (Second Revised Edition-1993), The University Press Limited, Dhaka, Bangladesh; ISBN 984 05 1228 5

Ahmad, Perveen; The Aesthetics & Vocabulary of NAKSHI KANTHA (1997), Bangladesh National Museum: ISBN 984 585 000 6

Basak, Sila; Nakshi Kantha of Bengal(2007) Gyan Publication,New Delhi, India; ISBN 81 212 0895 5

v  d  e

Embroidery

Styles

Assisi  Bargello  Berlin work  Blackwork  Broderie Anglaise  Broderie perse  Candlewicking  Canvas work  Counted-thread  Crewel  Cross-stitch  Cutwork  Darning  Drawn thread work  Free embroidery  Goldwork  Hardanger  Machine  Needlepoint  Quillwork  Smocking  Sprang  Stumpwork  Surface  Suzani  Trianglepoint  Whitework

Stitches

Backstitch  Blanket  Brick  Buttonhole  Chain stitch  Couching and laid work  Cross stitches  Embroidery stitch  Featherstitch  Holbein  Parisian  Peyote  Running  Satin stitch  Sashiko  Shisha  Straight stitch  Tent stitch

Tools

and materials

Aida cloth  Embroidery hoop  Embroidery thread  Evenweave  Perforated paper  Plainweave  Plastic canvas  Sampler  Slip  Yarn

Regional

and historical

Art needlework  Bunka shishu  Brazilian  Chikan  Chinese  English   Indian  Jacobean  Kaitag   Kantha  Kasuti   Korean  Mountmellick  Persian  Opus Anglicanum  Suzhou  Ukrainian   Vietnamese  Zardozi

Embroideries

Apocalypse Tapestry  Bayeux Tapestry  Bradford carpet  Hastings Embroidery  Hestia tapestry  Margaret Laton's jacket  New World Tapestry  Overlord embroidery  Quaker Tapestry

Designers

and embroiderers

Leon Conrad  Kaffe Fassett  Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty   Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum  Ann Macbeth  May Morris  Charles Germain de Saint Aubin  Mary Elizabeth Turner   Teresa Wentzler  Erica Wilson  Lily Yeats

Organizations

and museums

Embroiderers' Guild (UK)  Embroiderer's Guild of America   Embroidery Software Protection Coalition  Royal School of Needlework   Chung Young Yang Embroidery Museum   Han Sang Soo Embroidery Museum

Related

Applique  Crochet  Knitting  Lace  Needlework  Quilting

v  d  e

Bengali culture

General

Art  Architecture of Bengal  Architecture of Bangladesh  Calendar  Cinema  Cuisine  History  Language  Literature  Music  Poetry  Renaissance  Script  Sport (Bangladesh)  Theatre  Wedding  Bengali people (list)

Specific

Dhaki  Fairs in Birbhum  Folk Culture of Bangladesh  Folk Literature of Bangladesh  Jatra  Maimansingha Gitika  Nabanna  Panjika  Pohela Baishakh  Poush Mela  Rabindra Sangeet  Tarja

Folk Songs and Dances

Alkap  Baul  Bhadu  Bhatiali  Bhawaiya  Chhau  Gombhira  Kavigan

Crafts

Bankura horse  Craft centres in West Bengal  Dhakai  Dhokra  Jamdani  Kantha  Nakshi Kantha  Sholapith

Categories: QuiltingHidden categories: Articles needing additional references from January 2008 | All articles needing additional references | Articles with links needing disambiguation
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