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Why Nakshi Kantha is famous?

Nakshi Kantha is one of the most unique representations of the art that speaks of a thousand stories that had once been lived and witnessed. In fact, the intuitive design and the animated articulation have a narrative about the Bengali traditions, culture, struggles, emotions, and much more. As for how it became famous, many people credit the famous Bengali poet Jashim Uddin for his famous poem ‘Nakshi Kanthar Maath’ where he mentioned his narrative of nakshi kantha.

The Europeans are one of the biggest admirers of this majestic artwork in the form of a tapestry that had taken it from the boundaries of the sub-continent and revealed it to the whole world. The long-standing business relationship of the Europeans in the Indian subcontinent is what created a demand for the famous nakshi katha among the European countries. To this day, the nakshi katha remains an indigenous part of our rich cultural heritage.

Aside from earning the admiration of people across the world, it has equal admiration among people inside the country. In fact, the nakshi kantha of each district has its own unique design, which makes it even more attractive. The different aspects of the Bengali folk culture, such as - the sparked inspirations, had evolved out of necessity and passion which had been reflected in the nakshi kanthas – all of which had been brilliantly narrated by the poet Jashim Uddin.

A nakshi kantha is a precious possession – one that a mother gives away during her daughter’s wedding as a present on the most memorable day of her life. It is a way of wishing the daughter good fortune using thread and a needle. The Bengali form of baby shower involves doing everything in seven and in many places, it is celebrated by gifting decorated nakshi kanthas. It is a way to wish good fortune for the baby. Apart from the social aspect the kathas bring to the lives of the Bengali people, it is also made commercially for selling nowadays.

The nakshi kantha was invented in a time when social communication was bounded within a handful of people. The village women who lived in and witnessed the Bengali folklore in their lives are the ones who created these beautiful tapestries as a means to spend leisure time. Long old pieces of discarded clothes used to be sewn together and then majestically designed using different aspects of their lives.

It is an expression of our multiracial, multicultural, and multi-religious identity as a nation. That is because the patterns will take you back in time to the narratives of age-old wedding rituals, chariot processions, nocturnal blossoms, and more. Overall, the master design work entirely depends upon the story maker based on what she wants to narrate.

Turn the clock by three decades, and you will find yourself in a place where you can witness the resurgence of the nakshi kanthas. These days they are being displayed in art exhibitions and sold commercially in foreign markets. These kanthas had created an individual market where art connoisseurs look for and collect these aesthetically designed and hand-crafted items and are likely to pay high prices for them.

Beyond the scope of commercial export, these kanthas have become a statement of exotic fashion that is authentically based on the Bengali culture. More interestingly, new fashion designers are taking inspiration from the Bengali culture and studying the aspects of folklore to create a fusion of new designs and using the ideas outside the scope of nakshi kanthas.

The design aspect of these kanthas is deconstructed and studied so that they could be kept intact and yet used to create and to be used in other fashionable items such as – silk scarves, pocket squares, handkerchiefs, stoles, haute couture textiles, and etc. Such works of aesthetic design and unique artwork had garnered so much international appreciation that it led one homegrown company to exhibit their brilliant work to be showcased in the Berlin and Paris Fashion Weeks and the prestigious Santa Fe International Folk-Art Market.

In Conclusion
Whether it’s on a discarded piece of cloth or fresh ones, the Bengali tradition of making simple yet complex quilts out of creativity and will keep on defying all grammars and symmetries to tell the emotional narratives hidden in the deepest corners of the maker’s heart. Whether it is vintage or modern, a nakshi kantha will always gain an appreciation for its rich artwork for as long it keeps representing the Bengali culture and its emotional narratives along with its history. Overall, all these aspects make the nakshi kantha an incomparable gem of the Bengali culture.

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Why Nakshi Kantha is famous?

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