Nakshi Kantha : Comparative analysis

Nakshi kantha of Bengal is the bearer of incomparable beauty. Different kinds of Nakshi kantha are available at different places of Bangladesh. Due to local differences there are variations in the styles of suing of Nakshi kantha. Like the kanthas of Murshidabad, Rajshahi, Bogra, Kushtia are thick in nature and are usually heavy. Kanthas here are big in size but the suing is not very sharp. In these areas intensity cold is more, so the kanthas are thick to match that. According to Tofel Ahmed: “In Bangladesh suing of kantha can be categorized in two schools – one is Jessore style and other one is Rajshahi style, or Chapainababgonj style if put correctly. Jessore kantha is the best in terms of Art. And style wise Chapainababgonj kanthas are better. In Chapainababgonj four types of kanthas are popular. Another type of kantha called “Choptana” is stitched in Chapainababgonj. These five types of kanthas are Lahri kantha, Shujoni kantha, Leak kantha, carpet kantha and Choptana kantha. Mixture of different stitches are seen in other areas kanthas. But these five types of kanthas in Rajshahi are stitched with five distinctive stitches. There Koita stitch in Lahri kantha, single stitched shujoni kantha, leak stitch in leak kantha, cross stitch or star stitch in carpet kantha and choptana kantha are stitched with cut stitches. A particular type of kantha is stitched with a particular stitch from top to bottom.  (Tofael Ahmed : Nakshi kantha)

Kantha of Chapainababgonj is different. Kanthas of this area has lots of designs throughout its body. Here Shujoni is called “Ek Phora”. Here in the body of kantha there lays panpata, water lily, Padma chaka, rose, Dalim flowers. In motif map, elephant, deer, peacock, parrot, bird’s nest, duck fish, mosque are used.

Lahri kantha is the oldest type of kantha in Chapainababgonj in Rajshahi (currently Chapainababgonj is a separate district). Beside this, carpet design is the famous naksha. In carpet design biscuit flower, star flower design is seen. Carpet kantha is stitched in a very short time and its color diversity catches everyone’s mind. Here Lahri stitch, shoptana stitch, single stitch, double stitch, button stitch, s stitch etc. stitches are seen. In many places of Rajshahi and Chapainababgonj, Nakshi kantha is made. Nakshi kantha making is available in Dariapur, Nimgachi, Chouhodditola, Horipur, Vaatsara, Shibpur, Rajarampur, Kalipur village in Chapainababgonj.  Ajairpur village produces the most work of Nakshi kantha.

The aesthetics of Jessore kantha is excellent. There are sharp stitches in Jessore kanthas. The gaps in the alphabetic designs and motifs are filled with small spots matching with the body of the kantha. The sharp stitches give a wavy feeling in the kantha. The kanthas here are thin and the stitch work is done with lots of care and good taste. Though Jessore region is hot and humid but rainfall is heavy here. Cold is comparatively low. The kanthas are stitched with three folded cloths. Kanthas of this area are colorful and cheerful. The popular stitch is known as Jessore stitch. Nakshi kantha is stitched in greater Jessore. In the Kanthas of this are different kinds of design and stitches are seen. Like anaz taaga, chokh taaga, chen stitch, dal stitch, ekshir and different kinds of flowers, and other designs and motifs are stitched in the kanthas. Here more yarns are used which looks good when stitched with density. Besides these Dorokha kanthas are also stitched.

Kanthas of Khulna region are thin and the designs are sharp. Use of colored yarns with motif reflects the expertise of the local women in stitching. Kanthas of this area are not too big and the sharpness of the design the of mid range. Besides, presence of different stitches, designs and motifs are more. Use of different types of yarn makes the kanthas more attractive, diverse and full of artistic excellence. There is a similarity between Faridpur kanthas and kanthas that are stitched here. Darokha kanthas are found here.

Kanthas of faridpur are also colorful and diverse. But the kanthas here do not have the sharpness of Jessore kanthas. Kanthas are not too thick rather it is thin. Par kanthas are stitched here more. Similarity can be found among the designs and motifs of Faridpur and Khulna and Jessore kanthas. Though there is not as much sharpness in designs as jessore kanthas have, but it is moderate. Here  excellent kanthas are stitched with colorful yarns and beautiful sitting kantha and palki kantha are also stitched.

Kanthas of Kushtia are thick in nature. Though the kanthas are big in size, but the stitches are not that sharp. Here in baby kanthas, Beki stitch in popular.  The stitches are thick and beautiful. Here the local name of Run stitch is “Pipri Taaga”.  Cross stitch is called “Ek Ghore” and Hashua taaga are called Shojne taaga. Run stitch is called Kaithe.  Anaz taaga, chokh taaga, staaga, ushte taaga, paati taaga, barfi or court barfi design, ekshir etc are seen mostly here. Though the kanthas here are made according to Jessore style, but the influence of Rajshahi region is also seen.

In Bogra vertical isles incorporated with different colored yarns and each row reflect different symbols.  Kanthas here are thick and heavy in nature. Though the size is big, but the stitches are not that sharp. Here Par Kanthas are more in number.

In the kanthas of Pabna district Shujoni kantha are more popular and here in the stitches Chalta flower design is seen. The feature of this region is Bunot stitch. The amount of Motif is less than other regions. But the Par kanthas are very beautiful.

Kanthas of Maimensing area is altogether of good quality. Par kanthas are more popular I kishorgonj. In Sherpur Dostorkhan, Jainamaz kantha with run stitch are prominent. Kanthas of Maimensingh and Tangail are colorful like Jessore kanthas, but there is lack of sharp stitches. In Jamalpur diffrrent kinds of kanthas are seen with diversified designs. Prominence of beautiful Motifs and Par are seen in this area’s kanthas. Jamalpur kanthas are made in three layers. Bokhea, run, and different Vorat stitches are done here. Run stitch is done the most. In the flower style Jhul Pipri  Vorat is given. The designs are developed from the middle of the kantha. If the kanthas are big then taaga stitch is given at the end. And in case of small kanthas taaga is given in the beginning. In the kanthas here  anaj tagadesign, eye, snail, karala seed, lily, chalta flower etc designs are seen. Beside these paati par, star par, runner etc pars are stitched. In case of similarities are seen in the kanthas of Jamalpur, Sherpur, Jessore, Kustia.Rajshahi and Manikganj are different.  In the middle of the knathas here Alpana designs are created, and at the centre lily designs are stitched. Surrounding the lily different designs are done. In the kanthas here different Motifs are seen, like, elephant, hourse, fish, snake, peacock, bird, butterfly, tiger, flower, temple, mosque, cart, Palki, boat etc. Here also Darokha stitch is seen in the kanthas. Darokha stitch is called Naal taaga here. Beside in the aisle of the kanthas anaj taaga, eye taaga, moon-star, snail taaga, cycle taaga, boykha taaga, pipri taaga, shirpata taaga, chati taaga, paati taaga are seen.Chaati taaga is called “dal ghutni” in local language.