Monday 14 December 2009

40 Superb Bengali Quilts (Kanthas) on Exhibit * 12 December '09 - 25 July '10 * Perelman Building, Philadephia Museum of Art

I know how frustrating it must be for some of you whenever I urge a visit to the V&A or some other UK museum, when there is really no chance you can travel there - simply because I feel incredibly frustrated that I shall not be able to visit this marvellous exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art curated by Dilys Blum and Darielle Mason. However, there is a catalogue of the exhibition which presents the entire two Kantha collections of Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz and Stella Kramrisch for the first time. I have ordered mine already!
I am so excited by these quilts which display a spectacular gaze on Bengali life, family celebrations and beliefs. This particular quilt, just over a yard and just under a metre square, was stitched in Faridpur, Bangladesh in the 19th century, its maker is unknown. The fabric employed is cotton plain weave and the stitches used are: back, buttonhole, darning, running, double-sided (except for writing), marking cross, cross, dot, eye, stem filling, fern, and seed stitches.

So if you are able to travel to Philadelphia to see this exhibition, please do - and remember to take a spare pair of eyes with you, so that you can see it and experience it for all the many unable to be there.

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