‘Nakshi kantha’: Tale of Dying art

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A 150 years old Nakshi Kantha..! Fascinating isn’t it? Have you came across one such vibrant fabric?
Well, we are talking about Bengal’s quintessential quilt version of ‘Kantha’. A Bangal household will have one which comes out of the almira during winter.
This particular fabric reminds us of your childhood, it bring back nostalgia!
The profligate Kantha hand work and the exclusive embroidered one known as ‘Nakshi Kantha’ is still intact in Bengal. But, unfortunately it have became one of the dying art.

Keeping aside the forever charming Wax Museum, Eco park or Misti Hub, if one wishesh to see spectacular Kantha Work accumulated under one roof, one must drop by at the Kantha Museum of Ambedkar Bhavan, Salt Lake.
The inexplicable traditional artwork of folk scenes in Kantha has been practised in Bengal for more than centuries and this brings pride which should be kept alive.
You may ask what is so special about ‘Kantha’? Well, the answer is hidden within those embroidery. Day to day folk scenes is the main attraction of this fabric. According to one of the information board on the museum wall, materials that were used for Kanthas were old saris, lungis, and dhotis. Not just a survival strategy for the dwellers of remote villagers, Nakshi Kantha made its place in poet Jasimuddin’s poetic verses ‘Nakshi Kanthar Maath/ নক্সী কাঁথার মাঠ’ (Field of Embroidered Quilt) back in 1928.
– What are Motifs?
Motifs in the early form of Kantha embroidery depicted nature symbols that were found in the ancient art form such as the tree of life, the sun, and the cosmos. These 3 art forms are used mostly in an embroidery. Even today, the traditional Kantha embroidery depicts the symbols which remain closely connected to nature and historic culture.

– Speaking about Kantha Museum of Ambedkar Bhavan, Salt Lake!
The primary objectives of this museum is to commemorate and acknowledge the contributions of the artist who nurtured and promote Kantha art in Bengal. Step inside the museum and you are bound to get lost (in a good way tho). An exquisite collection of Nakshi Kantha, some of which are more than 150-years old. Each of the stitches have a district aesthetic tone and unique stitch work vocabulary.

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