HISTORY OF KANTHA

Hello everyone, Today I’m going to tell you about Kantha embroidery…Let’s know Kantha of Bengal, About Kantha embroidery, Types of Kantha, Some important facts regarding Kantha embroidery, Designers-Kantha,Designers who used Kantha embroidery. …

Kantha Of Bengal :

Kantha is the famous traditional folk,art of Bengal. Kantha means patched cloth. It has a significant symbol that displays the skill and talent of the rural women in Bengal. The overall objective is to understand the historical background of Kantha embroidery, how did it come,what made it last so long, etc.

About Kantha Embroidery:

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Kantha is one of the ancient forms of embroidery that derived in india. Its origins can be traced back to the ancient pre-vedic era. Kantha embroidery was traced back to the 500-year-old book, ‘Chaitanya Charitamrita’. It has two different meanings ‘Kantha ‘ means ‘Rags’ in sanskrit, which reflects the fact that the embroidery is made up of discarded garments or cloths.

  • Motifs detected in early Kantha embroidery include many signs that were derived from ancient art. These symbols depict or reflect nature, such as the sun, the tree of life and the universe. And also the other motifs used in Katha embroidery are composed of heterogeneous objects like various types of Lotus flowers, Mandala Satadala padma, Creepers, Kalkas,animal figures,birds,fishes,boats,etc.
  • Rural homemakers in West Bengal played a important part in the evolution of Kantha embroidery. Through it continued to be practiced amongst rural women, recognition of the craft faded over time,until it was renewed on a global scale in the 1940s by the renowned Kala Bhavana Institute of fine Arts, which was the part of the Visva-Bharati University in Shantiniketan,West Bangal.
  • It was regenerated yet again by Shamlu Dudeja in the 1980s When she founded Self Help Enterprise (SHE) that helped empower women and their livelihood through Kantha embroidery.
  • Predominantly, this embroidery was used for quilts, dhotis,and sarees, but over a period of time it has expanded and made its way right into the heart of India fashion. The thought beyond this needle work was to reuse old clothes and materials and turn them into something new. This is what forms Kantha embroidery only one of its type.

Types Of Kantha:

There are many traditional ways of doing the running stitch. Some of them are as follows.

  • Lep Kantha are rectangular warps of heavily padded to make warm coverlets. The entire pieces would be stitched in a way rippled designs over which simple embroidery is executed.
  • Sujani Kantha is rectangular parts of cloth used as blankets or spreads on function.
  • Baiton Kantha is square warps used for covering books and other valuables. They are elaborately patterned with borders of numerous rows of colourful designs.
  • Oar Kantha are rectangular pillow covers in a simple design with a decorative border sewn around the edges.
  • Archilata Kantha are small rectangular covers for mirrors or toilet embellishments with wide colourful borders in various motifs.
  • Durjani Kantha are small rectangular with a central lotus design and embroidery borders.

These days the unique traditional art is also done on the line of men’s wear-jackets,sherwanis,shawls,coats, and suits; women’s wear-sari,salwar kameez,tunics,dupattas,lehengas,scarfs,dress materials, ponchos and home furnishings as well.

Important Facts:

  • Kantha is pronounced as ‘kaatha’ in the north, ‘Kontha’ in the east and ‘Kantha ‘ in south.
  • The motifs used in Kantha embroidery has a great influence on Portuguese and European traditions.
  • The original Kantha is double-faced where the design appears identical on either sides of the fabric.

Designers-Kantha:

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Kantha embroidery is one of the ancient forms of embroidery. It’s been using as design embroidery clothes since many years. Traditionally it was done so that the old garments can be reused to create something new. But these days embroidery has taken many turns and is implemented in different ways and, styles and it is still been kept alive by our designers. This art is not only confined to India but is also getting international exposures through Indian designer outlets. So let us know the designers who have taken this embroidery one-step further and used the embroidery in their garments.

Designers Who Used Kantha embroidery:

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  • Kantha actually means ‘rags’. This embroidery originated in rural West Bengal and was an expression of the local ethos. Today, designers like Sabyasachi and Agnimitra Poul are giving it prominence on national catwalks. Sabyasachi at the India couture week 2014 gave the collection of Indian sarees a twist with Banarasi silk and Kantha work with light pastel colours.
  • Neeru Kumar is very popular in handcrafted textiles. She has been using traditional techniques and materials. Neeru kumar is rare and inspired talent. In the end of lots of research she became successful in creation of new unique design by her experiment and researches.
  • Kantha embroidery is an Indian embroidery which is taken in the fashion industry by storm. Where Sharbari Datta an Indian fashion designer, has displayed beautiful ensembles of Kantha work,along with other Indian traditional embroideries. She took the traditional Kantha embroidery and gave it an unique wear by including it on dhotis,kurtas, sherwanis and even hot pants.
  • The demand for this type of embroidery is not limited to Indian alone,but designers in UK and Japan have also reached out to local sellers and have used this embroidery in their designs as well.
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  • Tarun Tahiliani, a eminent designer from India has opened several outlets of his Kantha garments in London, Paris,Santa Fe and Washington.
  • Times above changed and Kantha today is celebrated embroidery that is highly desired whether in a sari, salwar suit,duppata, tops or bottom wear.
  • Contemporary Kantha is even seen in menswear,kids wear and home furnishings.
  • Kantha embroidery can also be done on cushions, cover bags,carpets,bed sheets,scarfs,lunch box covers, wall hanging,shawl,handkerchief etc.

Thus, Kantha embroidery is not just restricted to a particular style. You can create anything out of it,all you need is your imagination and now to implement that in real..

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