Kantha Embroidery: From Art to Fashion

admin Comments 0 April 8, 2022

An art lover can very well relate with the name and understand what we are going to talk about?

Kantha Embroidery originated in Eastern part of India- majorly West Bengal, Tripura and Odisha. “Kantha” was derived from Sanskrit language word “rags” which means old and discarded. It is a running stitch art work initially used to make “Dohar” (Quilt), Bed spread, “Kathri” (throw) or “Nakshi kantha” (in local language). The purpose was to utilise old, discarded garments and cloth pieces. Gradually, Kantha emerged as an expression of thoughts by these women in the form of pictures and stories.

Kantha Embroidery: From Art to Fashion. Kantha work on pink fabric. has a picture of birds and leaves

As many other ancient art work, Kantha work also lost recognition until 1940s when Kala Bhavana Institute of Fine Arts, Shanti Niketan, West Bengal revived the dying art of Kantha. However, the modern fame and popularity of kantha work was said to be the mission and vision of Shamlu Dudeja, founder of SHE (Self Help Enterprise) India, a self-help group to empower rural women artisans.


The repetitive running stitches gives it a unique wavy and wrinkled effect on its fabric. The traditional raw material was soft cotton but due to its huge popularity, a variety of materials like Georgette, Silk, Crepe and Chiffon are used now.

Kantha Embroidery: From Art to Fashion. Panel design with colours - red, white and yellow

Starting from Bed covers, pillow covers and other furnishing Items, it has found a place in women’s wardrobe in different forms including sarees, kurtas, churidars, shalwar, shawls, stoles and dupattas. Contemporary Kantha craft uses different themes and patterns, such as geometrical shapes, floral and animal motifs, sometimes even depicting day to day life of a rural Indian woman giving it a whole new form of an artwork.Keep watching this blog and follow Zebozan on Facebook and Instagram for more Indian fashion tips and insights.

Kantha Embroidery: From Art to Fashion. Kantha design on blue fabric


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