With their whimsical fabrics and uneven stitching, kantha throws are fun, colorful accessories. Yet like other quilting traditions, the art form has rich cultural roots. For centuries in India and Bangladesh, Bengali women stitched together old saris and cloth scraps to form blankets and cushions. “Kantha” is the Sanskrit word for rags, and old cloth was believed to provide protection from harm.
- A Sanskrit proverb—“Slowly one stitches rags, slowly one traverses the path, and slowly one climbs to the top of the mountain”—connects the craft to the deities Chindadeo and Chindadevi, the Lord and Lady of Tatters.
- Kantha is actually a form of embroidery, sometimes used to depict symbols of nature like the sun or the tree of life.
- Although a simple running stitch is most familiar in today’s imports, women also created elaborate patterns that told family stories—as did African and early American quilters.
- Sometimes several generations of women would work on the same heirloom quilt.
- Both sides of a kantha quilt are equally decorative but not identical.
- Kantha cloth is often made into tablecloths, pillow covers, scarves, and bags, as well as quilts.
- Authentic kantha throws are handmade and will vary in size, color, and pattern.
Whether you’d like to embellish an existing color scheme in a sophisticated living space or create a more relaxed bohemian vibe – here’s five reasons you need to get yourself a Kantha quilt to bring some light, history and fun into your life!
- BED SPREAD, QUILT OR COVERLET
Probably the most common modern use for the Kantha quilt – they’re great all year ’round. Wonderful layered, for that true ‘boho’ look, they can provide instant warmth on those chilly nights, but they can also be light enough to use in warmer months if they have more delicate cotton layers.
- CURTAINS OR ROOM DIVIDER
Simply adding curtain clips along any edge of a kantha quilt can instantly turn it into a wonderfully colorful curtain or room divider – with a hippie Indian tapestry vibe. Here at Jaipur Handlom we like to keep open-minded and let you decide what uses you can get out of our beautiful range of kantha quilts and blankets, leaving them untouched, as-is.
- COUCH THROW OR BLANKET
Another favorite in our home is a couch throw – whether it’s literally thrown onto the couch to give a much needed splash of color or pattern, neatly folded or hung on the back of the sofa or armrest, the Kantha throw can be used to liven up a couch or as a blanket for snuggling up under (with popcorn of course)!
Alternatively, a fun weekend break from night re-runs of Friends or Breaking Bad could have you set up some floor cushions and layer them with kantha quilts for a romantic setting. Perfect for that cheeky glass of wine and Indian curry you’ve been dreaming about all week.
- WALL HANGING AND TAPESTRY
Kanthas make great wall hangings and can be an incredible talking piece for a lounge feature – or even an office space. The best thing about it is the 2-in-1 feature of the kantha – as they are double-sided they can be flipped creating a dynamic wall space!
- PICNIC BLANKET
Our favourite use of these gorgeous colorful kantha's is the picnic blanket. Kanthas are the ultimate picnic blanket – versatile, colourful and even reversible – so you really get a choice of 2 designs each time! Light enough to carry or stash in your bike basket, you’ll be the envy of all the other plain plaid blanket owners in your local park. You can keep a small kantha rolled up in your glove compartment for the impromptu country picnic getaway at any time, you can even have an indoor picnic in the middle of your lounge