Birbhum district of West Bengal is the birthplace of Kantha embroidery. Though Kantha was traditionally used to decorate quilts and bedspreads, it is now a popular embroidery for salwar kameez, sarees, dupattas and blouses.
Kantha sarees are ideally embroidered on cotton or silk. Pure silk and Tussar silk are the favoured varieties of silk. Kantha stitches have various types of stitches like Rumal Kantha, Archilata Kantha, Durjani Kantha, Baiton Kantha, Sujani Kantha, Lep Kantha and Oaar Kantha.
Rumal Kantha is used to cover plates, Archilata Kantha is used to cover mirrors , Durjani Kantha is used to make insides of purses and wallets, Baiton Kantha is used to cover books, bedspreads are made using Sujani Kantha and Lep Kantha is used to make quilts for warmth, whereas Oaar Kantha is used for pillow covers.
These sarees are popular globally and are produced largely on a commercial scale. There are middlemen like marketing agencies, wholesellers selling raw materials and chain stores selling it to the final buyer. It is easy to get lost in the crowd and buy fake and get duped. Though these sarees are sold worldwide, they are still hand stitched by women of rural regions and deserve to be paid adequately.
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