Saturday, November 7, 2020

Kantha Embroidery Sari

 Kantha Embroidery Sari   

Traditionally this embroidery was used for quilts, dhotis and sarees, but over a period of time it has evolved and made its way right into the heart of Indian fashion. The yarn is taken from old saree borders; the design is then traced and finally covered `with running stitches. Today this kind of embroidery can be found on shawls, pillow covers, dupattas, and home furnishings as well.

Origin and history

Kantha is perhaps the oldest forms of Indian embroidery as it can be traced back to the first and second A.D. The thought behind this needlework was to reuse old clothes and materials and turn them into something new. This is what makes kantha embroidery only one of its kind.

Kantha work is approximately 500 years old, and there is a myth surrounding it which points out that Lord Buddha and his disciples used old rags with different kinds of patch work to cover themselves with at night, and this gave the kantha embroidery its origin. Traditionally women would take 4 to 5 sarees, layer them together and create different running stitches on them which they then used as blankets to cover their children with. However, what started as a way to make life more comfortable went on to become a big trend in clothes and furniture as well.

Varieties

There are 7 different types of Kantha stitches. The first kind is the Lep Kantha, which is used to make warm, padded quilts. Then there is the Sujani Kantha which is used to make bed covers for ceremonial occasions. Baiton Kantha is used on covers meant to wrap books and other precious objects.

Oaar Kantha is used on pillow covers, while Archilata Kantha is used for covering mirrors and usually comes with colorful motifs and borders. Durjani Kantha is small pieces used to make the insides of a wallet, and the last kind is the Rumal Kantha which is used to cover plates, and come with a lotus motif right in the center.

Wearing Kantha

The best thing about Kantha work is that it can be an accessory in itself, and does not need any additional embellishment to make it look better. This is because it can be used in different forms and for different purposes. It can be a unique and fun looking table cover, and it can also be a funky border for a saree.

One can accessorize it, however, and not worry about going wrong since this kind of embroidery is adaptable to any occasion. Since Kantha embroidery can be found on all kinds of objects and garments, it can be molded to a specific use according to one’s needs and preferences. Ideal to attend a mellow gathering or a Pooja next door.

Maintenance

Maintaining the quality of a kantha blanket or even a kantha saree is not complicated. Any special trick of the trade is not required to keep it in a good condition. Normal hand or machine wash would be adequate and would not ruin the longevity of the fabric or embroidery.

Interesting facts and comparisons

In Sanskrit, the word “kontha” means rags.

Kantha is the most popular form of embroidery in West Bengal and has been around for more than 500 years.

Initially Kantha was used on cotton or silk. But now it is used on other fabrics as well like Georgette, crepe and chiffon.


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