Most conventional kanthas had a picture of the Solar or a lotus because the central point of interest. However the motifs utilized in kantha different enormously, with characters from folklore and mythology, to parts of nature reminiscent of oceans, birds, animals, the tree of life, rivers and sealife, and the issues the makers noticed round them, reminiscent of palanquins, chariots, temples, mirrors and on a regular basis objects like umbrellas.
Together with Indian inspirations, kantha was additionally influenced by colonial rule and Portuguese merchants. Kantha with silken threads was created beneath Portuguese patronage, with motifs like crusing ships and coats of arms. A Nineteenth-Century kantha on the Nationwide Crafts Museum in New Delhi has motifs of enjoying playing cards, sahibs and memsahibs, chandeliers and medallions of Queen Victoria, facet by facet with scenes from Hindu mythology wherein Shiva seems like a Madonna in a Christian portray, and Rama and Lakshmana seem as European boys.
Kantha additionally usually represented a household’s hopes and aspirations, from weddings and happiness, to household and fertility. The sunshine quilts have been helpful within the monsoon and winter and a few have been used as prayer mats. Extra elaborate examples have been gifted as marriage ceremony dowries, made by moms and grandmothers with their hopes, needs and household histories graphically weaved in.
Each bit of kantha was distinctive as there have been no formal guidelines. Though some symbols and motifs have been common, every design relied on the creator’s particular person composition, method and color scheme. It was a handicraft that belonged to communities, and was by no means one thing that was commissioned by the royal household or wealthy landlords. Within the 18th and Nineteenth Centuries, beneath British colonial rule, many Indian handicrafts took a backseat, although kantha continued to be practiced amongst rural ladies.
Many public figures have formed kantha’s journey over time. Within the Forties, a revival of kantha was spearheaded by Pratima Devi, the daughter-in-law of the poet and Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, as part of a drive to empower ladies in rural areas. Sadly, the Partition of India in 1947 led to kantha declining once more, as many individuals left from India to Bangladesh. In the meantime, exterior India, one US establishment that has contributed to the revival of kantha is the Philadelphia Museum of Artwork, which preserved the kantha assortment of Stella Kramrisch, a US artwork historian and curator, who had acquired an in depth assortment throughout her time in India within the Twenties as a trainer in Santhiniketan.