Saturday, March 25, 2017

Why Kantha stitch sarees of West Bengal are always in demand?

The kantha sarees are in a great way responsible for the fact that folk art of Bengal has remained healthy and alive. Of late, this form of sarees has seen a significant increase in its demand. The motif designs that you see typically in the katha sarees are normally hand embroidered. Apart from sarees, kantha stitch is also used in other dresses that women wear such as kurtas, lehengas, and salwars to name a few. These sarees can be made of cotton, which is more often than not of the finest variety, as well as silk.

When are these sarees worn?
Most of the times, these sarees are worn during festivals considering the fact that kantha stitching is a traditional folk art in these parts. They are also worn during various cultural events as well as family gatherings. When you wear one such saree you would feel prettier and more proud.

How has it spread to the rest of the world?
In the last few decades a lot of people have been migrating from India at an increasing rate. They are going away to different parts of the world. Apart from this, there are places that had been colonies previously and have sizeable Indian populations as a result of that. Therefore due to this movement people around the world have been coming in contact with Indian culture. This has also afforded them the chance to look at various examples of Indian handicraft. This includes kantha stitch work as well. In fact, people in the West have been showing a fair amount of interest in kantha work as such. A lot of women are wearing sarees as well and all these factors have come together to make kantha work popular in various parts of the world.

Fabric of kantha sarees
As has been said already these sarees are made from silk and cotton. In traditional kantha you will definitely see a lot of layers and this is one feature that you will see in the modern pieces as well. However, there has been a major departure from the past. These days, new clothes are used to make kantha sarees. Along with West Bengal, kantha work is also done in Bihar, Rajasthan, and Gujarat. You will find this work in Bangladesh as well.

West Bengal Famous Kantha-Embroidery Work

Borders in these sarees
The borders that you get to see in kantha sarees represent the highest points in hand embroidery and needle work done in India. The borders can just be thin strips that have single line designs. They may as well be broad with multiple line designs. The best thing about these line designs is that they can be quite different compared to each other. In some of these sarees you will see that the same running design has been placed in all the four sides. In some other sarees you will see two borders have been placed in a longitudinal manner, and two have been placed along the wider part of the saree.

One of the commonest misconceptions about kantha sarees is that the designs are always mythological. It cannot be farther from truth. There are various other kinds of designs that can be seen in these motifs. You will get themes such as the following:
  • circles
  • flowers
  • the letter X
  • betel-leaf
  • barfi
  • butterfly   
You can get designs of vegetables such as mango, orange, bitter gourd, and pineapple on the motif borders of these sarees.

Stitches in these sarees
In these sarees, the running stitch used traditionally is accompanied by other kinds of stitches like the chain, double herring-bone, herring-bone, and the cross. 

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