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Kantha: The Embroidered Quilts of Bengal
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Kantha: The Embroidered Quilts of Bengal

By Darielle Mason

With essays by Pika Ghosh, Katherine Hacker, Darielle Mason, Anne Peranteau, and Niaz Zaman

2009
304 pages, 304 illustrations (254 color), 10" x 11 1/2"
Hardcover ISBN 978-0-87633-218-4

This first book-length study on kanthas published outside of South Asia focuses on two premier collections, one assembled by the legendary historian of Indian art, Dr. Stella Kramrisch, the other by Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz, leading proponents of self-taught art. Created from worn-out garments imaginatively embroidered by women with motifs and tales drawn from a rich regional repertoire, kanthas traditionally were stitched as gifts for births, weddings, and other family occasions.

Innovative essays by leading scholars explore the domestic, ritual, and historical contexts of the fascinating quilts in these collections—made between the mid-19th and mid-20th century in what is today Bangladesh and West Bengal, India—and trace their reinterpretation as emblems of national identity and works of art.

Darielle Mason is the Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Awards

Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for Museum Scholarship 2009, College Art Association

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