[Above, detail view, Kantha (embroidered quilt) made in Jessore, Bangladesh or India, second half of the 19th century. Artist/maker unknown. Cotton plain weave with cotton embroidery in back, buttonhole, chain, darning, satin, running, brick, eye, zig zag variation, and star stitches. 74 1/2 x 53 inches.Gift of Stella Kramrisch, 1968. Philadelphia Museum of Art.]
While checking out Stephanie Merry's Washington Post coverage of Second Lives: The Age-Old Art of Recycling Textiles, a newly-opened Textile Museum exhibition, I noticed a beautifully detailed image of one of the kanthas in the show and thought back to a quote posted here last year:
Kanthas -- I never tire of looking at them. Some Textiles have a sameness, but each kantha has an individual quality. They are folk art.
-- Lord McAlpine quoted in Hali, fall 2010
The antique kantha shown above-- an embroidered Bengal textile made with recycled remnants from old clothes, such as saris -- is not from Second Lives. This example is a favorite from the 2010 exhibition, Kantha, highlights of which can still be enjoyed here. And the gorgeous accompanying catalog remains in stock, too.
I'll be back soon with a proper post but in the meantime I want to leave you with this link to RL Magazine's coverage of Second Lives, as well as Merry's piece. Both are definitely worth a look. RL also covers an upcoming addition to NYC's Museum Mile, the Museum for African Art. The story notes that the new facade, designed by Robert A. M. Stern Architects, will feature trapezoidal windows suggestive of African baskets.
Plateau basket available here. Past posts that reference African design can be found here.