Museums dedicated to ‘kantha’, puppets launched in Bengal

Kolkata, Sep 28 (IANS) West Bengal on Monday inaugurated museums dedicated to ‘kantha’ (embroidery), puppet and ethnography to preserve the state’s rich heritage.

The museums are housed in the Cultural Research Institute (CRI) complex at Kankurgachi here.

The puppet museum will display puppets created by backward class artisans from various districts of Bengal using relevant social themes, a statement said.

The kantha museum will have embroidery made by artisans from Birbhum using century-old design patterns. Each and every work will depict the stories of deprived sections of society.

Kantha refers to the embroidery comprising running stitches and is usually done by sewing together pieces of cloth to design blankets and scarves.

Kantha is popular in South Asia, especially Bangladesh and the Indian states of West Bengal and Odisha.

The CRI ethnographic museum has been revived by introducing enhanced decoration techniques. It has put on display nearly five hundred composite types of ethnographic specimens.

Ethnography is the scientific description of people and cultures with their customs, habits and mutual differences.

Most of the specimens in the museum are bio-degradable and offer a glimpse into Bengal’s tribal lifestyle.

The museum was launched by Upendra Nath Biswas, the minister-in-charge of the state’s backward classes welfare department.

The minister also flagged off a three-day workshop on puppetry, kantha and woodwork. A book titled “Banger Kantha” (kanthas of Bengal) – highlighting the rich heritage of kantha designs in Bengal – was released by the minister at the function.

The book is a pictorial depiction of kanthas of Bengal over the ages.

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