Kantha – literally, “quilt of recycled cotton rag” – is traditionally associated with rural women of the Bengal region of India and has a long and distinguished heritage. In East Bengal it is also known as kheta or kentha and as sujni in Bihar and parts of West Bengal. The term nakshi Kantha, which is popularly used in Bangladesh, is found in medieval literature.
Made from layers of discarded sari joined by simple running stitch which, typically produces a wonderful rippled effect, the uses of Kantha range from utilitarian quilts to exquisitely embroidered heirlooms. Kantha is used primarily for blankets and as light wraps, with smaller versions traditionally used as swaddling clothes for babies.