CONCEPTION OF KANTHA EMBROIDERY
A needle craft which emerged in eastern part of the sub-continent, including parts of West Bengal, Odisha and Tripura, Kantha is one such embroidery technique, that is not only a rage in the western countries but also, among the eastern artisanal community of India. Known to be a women-centric craft of ancient times, who started it more as a hobby to utilize old & waste fabrics; little was known, that it will become a heritage craft of all times. Because they were salvaged from used garments that had been frequently laundered, the colors tend to be muted.
The Sanskrit word kontha means ‘rags’. One legend links their origins to Lord Buddha and his disciples, who used to cover themselves with garments made from discarded rags that were patched and sewn together. Rags displayed at Indian shrines or tied to tree limbs symbolize prayers and wards off the evil eye. The oldest existing examples of kantha, date from the early 1800s. They are embroidered with blue, black and red threads that were unravelled from saree borders. The word kantha also means ‘throat’ and was named so due its association with the Hindu deity, Lord Shiva.
It’s origin can be traced back to 2 A.D. But, Kantha embroidery as we know it today was found in Krishnadas Kaviraj’s 500 year old book, Chaitanya Charitamrita . Kantha was used as a medium of cultural and religious significance, which came about as a result of Hinduism’s influence and was used in pujas to celebrate weddings and births.
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CONTEMPORISED KANTHA STITCH DESIGN
The various types of kantha stiches that are still prevalent in exclusive kantha products are Lep Kantha , Sujani Kantha, Baiton Kantha, Archilata Kantha, Thalia kantha, Oaar Kantha, Rumal Kantha and Dorokha.
The most sought-after products at present in kantha, ranges from kantha embroidered stoles ,dupattas, flamboyant sarees to patchworked jackets, kantha stiched kurtas , blouses, skirts and so on. Also, present are various kinds of pouches and bags. A handful of kantha crafts persons are returning to the art of kantha quilting and patchwork to make products ranging from shawls to quilts.
The age-old Kantha craft is united with modern silhouettes to achieve grace and perfection in the contemporised products. The experimentation by the designers has resulted in quite a lot of excellent masterpieces in the past few years and surprisingly they have succeeded in retaining the authenticity of the craft. Accessories, such as Kantha handbags, neck and earpieces can be seen sported by the elite class personalities.
Kantha is unequivocally a rage amongst the interior designers as well because of its ability to jazz up a dull space as well as bring balance to the entire colour scheme of a particular set up. This amazing needle work not only adorns the cushion covers and quilts but can be seen on table mats, tea cozies, rugs and even furniture itself. This craft is so versatile that it can unquestionably support an artist’s distinct creativity.
Check out this Kurta Palazzo set and fall in love with its intricate kantha handwork. This work of minimalism has been designed to evoke maximum grace.
This asymmetrical patch worked Silk Kantha jacket will not only impart an edgy feel but the posh textile with tantalizing textures and eye-arresting shades will strikingly make you stand out.
If you are fond of flattering silhouettes, then this cotton silk pallazo adorned with multi-coloured triangles on the edges are just for you. This bottom-wear is extremely versatile to be teamed up with most of the kurtis in your closet.