Women WeavingNakshi Kantha are embroidered quilts, bedspreads, wall hangings, and pillow shams made by artists in rural Bangladesh. Nakshi Kantha is a folk art that has been passed down through generations of Bangladeshi families. Scholars believe the word kantha originated from the word ketha, which describes quilts made from old saris (traditional Bangladeshi dresses) and dhotis (traditional Bangladeshi skirts). Eventually, artists began to add nakshi (embroidered designs) to the ketha as a form of both individual and cultural expression. Nakshi Kantha quilts are lightweight to compliment the tropical climate of Bangladesh.

The embroidered designs of Nakshi Kantha originated in the traditional art of Alpanas, ritualistic floor drawings made for worship and celebration. These motifs blend symbols derived from past and present Bangladeshi religions and scenes from everyday life, such as fishing boats, rivers, flowers, trees, and people. Some Nakshi Kantha artists tell a personal story through their unique imagery.

Rural Bangladeshi WomenArtisans of all social classes originally practiced Nakshi Kantha, but today primarily women of low-income families practice the art form. Producing and selling Nakshi Kantha allows women to contribute to their household income while working at home where they can care for their children. Artists typically work in groups to create Nakshi Kantha; often family members collaborate on larger pieces. Practicing Nakshi Kantha, therefore, serves as a family event through which artists proudly express their culture in a beautiful and functional form.