Kantha, a popular style of embroidery that comes from West Bengal, is a significant symbol that displays the skill and talent of the rural women in Bengal. Kantha, which basically means ‘throat’, is associated with Lord Shiva. The story revolves around how Lord Shiva consumed poison while stirring up the ocean, and therefore the significance of this word goes all the way back to the Vedic times. This type of stitch is basically the ‘running’ stitch, and is very simple.

Kantha is perhaps the oldest forms of Indian embroidery as it can be traced back to the first and second A.D. The thought behind this needlework was to reuse old clothes and materials and turn them into something new. This is what makes kantha embroidery only one of its kind. The motifs designed on clothes or bed spreads were of birds, animals, folk scenes, fishes and imagery that depicted different views of livelihood for the people living in Bengal.

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