Coverlet

early 20th century (made)
Coverlet thumbnail 1
Coverlet thumbnail 2
+1
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
South Asia, Room 41
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This type of embroidery from West Bengal and Bangladesh is generically called 'kantha' embroidery, and is traditionally made of recycled cotton saris and dhotis that have worn out. Coloured threads were extracted from the borders of the old saris to provide coloured areas, although in recent times specially purchased coloured threads are used. Kanthas are made up of several layers of cotton cloth, stitched together by designs in simple running stitch, and designs are added using pattern-darning stitch, satin-stitch and button-hole stitch.
Kanthas are used for a multitude of household functions: the small size and square format of this one suggests that it was either an all-purpose wrapper ('bostani') or a seating mat ('ashon').
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read Indian embroidery Our collection of Indian textiles ranges from rare courtly pieces to archaeological fragments, to everyday garments and fabrics, dating from the 14th century to the present day. Embroidery remains one of India's most recognisable and most prized textile traditions. Discover eight of the mo...
object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Embroidered cotton with cotton thread and quilted
Brief Description
Coverlet (kantha) wrapper or seating mat of embroidered cotton with cotton thread, Bangladesh, early 20th century
Physical Description
Coverlet (kantha) square wrapper or seating mat of embroidered cotton with cotton thread and quilted. Embroidered with a large central lotus pattern, corner botehs and floral meander motifs. The stitches used are running-stitch, pattern darning-stitch, satin-stitch, and buttonhole-stitch.
Dimensions
  • Length: 71cm
  • Width: 69cm
Production typeUnique
Gallery Label
WRAPPER OR MAT Cotton, embroidered and Quilted (kantha) Bangladesh 1900-50 IS.61-1981 The floral motifs recall the lotus ponds found in most Bengali villages, while the corner motifs – the kalka or Paisley design – have their origins in Kashmir shawls. The background is quilted with a delicate running stitch, and the borders are embroidered in imitation of woven sari border patterns.(27/9/2013)
Summary
This type of embroidery from West Bengal and Bangladesh is generically called 'kantha' embroidery, and is traditionally made of recycled cotton saris and dhotis that have worn out. Coloured threads were extracted from the borders of the old saris to provide coloured areas, although in recent times specially purchased coloured threads are used. Kanthas are made up of several layers of cotton cloth, stitched together by designs in simple running stitch, and designs are added using pattern-darning stitch, satin-stitch and button-hole stitch.

Kanthas are used for a multitude of household functions: the small size and square format of this one suggests that it was either an all-purpose wrapper ('bostani') or a seating mat ('ashon').
Bibliographic Reference
Indian embroidery / Rosemary Crill ; photography by Richard Davis. London: V&A Publications, 1999 Number: 185177310X, 1851772944 (pbk.)p. 21. cat. no. 117, ill. p.118
Collection
Accession Number
IS.61-1981

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record createdMay 31, 2002
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