Hues of Bengal

Kantha is one of the oldest embroidery forms originated from Bengal, a region comprising today's Indian state of West Bengal and the nation of Bangladesh.  Skillful women artisans use running stitches to create motifs of flowers, animals, and shapes, which often tell stories of their everyday life or folktales from a rich local repertoire. 

Kantha stitching in the region of Bengal

An old piece of Kantha embroidery
(Photo: Philadelphia Museum of Art)

In Sanskrit, the word kantha means rags.  The history of Kantha goes back to the first woman sewing remnant pieces of her old saris together to make something new and keep her family warm.  As it is believed that old cloth can protect the user, each Kantha quilt is a creature of love. 

The best Kantha has the entire cloth covered with running stitches.  These stitches create small wrinkles and ruffles with air pockets inside, which make the quilt a better insulator to fight the cold.   

Kantha quilts

Today, Kantha is still the most popular form of embroidery among rural Bengali women, but the contemporary Kantha is not necessarily done on multiple layers of up-cycled saris.  Versatile lightweight Kantha quilts find the way into our daily life with their vibrant pops of colors.  Regardless of trends, this century-old handicraft is staying in style. 

Kantha quilt home decor

Shop Kantha Quilts
Handcrafted in India

Jogi Rally Kantha Bed Set
Jogi Rally Kantha Bed Set

Karma Living Spring Field Kantha Quilt
Spring Field Kantha Quilt

Karma Living Paisley Garden Kantha Quilt
Paisley Garden Kantha Quilt

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