Kantha Stitch Sarees: Binding Tradition with Art


Though one can never be sure of the place of origin of Kantha Stitch, there remains no doubt that it is one of the oldest forms of needlecraft developed in and around some specific regions of undivided Bengal (now West Bengal and Bangladesh) and Odisha. Kantha stitch, one of the very popular embellishments now used in the cloth industry and famed around the international fashion industry for its simplicity yet richness of art, originated as the simplest form of needlework amongst the rural women who probably used this as an addition and decoration to mere stitching together of multilayered cloths for bed spreads, throws and quilts.

However, with revolutionising efforts in the fashion industry towards the end of the twentieth century, Kantha stitch evolved and came to be found on saree, kurtas, salwarsuits and dress materials. Kantha stitch sarees quickly became one of the most sought after pieces and still hold their ground strong and steady.

The villages near Bolpur, West Bengal, are now one of the major commercial producers of Kantha stitch sarees and dress materials in India. This art form has now taken a much complex form and needs around a couple of months to half a year for a dedicated artisan to embroider a complete saree. The use of multifarious coloured threads, intricate patterns and finally the uniqueness of each design make every piece a cherished possession even for a connoisseur of sarees.

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