Textiles collection

Velvet in Kente Cloth Style

European trade textile for a West African market. Velvet emulating African Kente cloth

Velvet in Kente Cloth Style, detail

European trade textile for West African market. Velvet emulating African Kente cloth style

Velvet in Kente Cloth Style

European trade textile for West African market. Velvet emulating African Kente cloth style

Velvet in Kente Cloth Style

European trade textile for West African market. Velvet emulating African Kente cloth style

Velvet in Kente Cloth Style, detail

European trade textile for West African market. Velvet emulating African Kente cloth style

Elephant and Palm Cut Velvets

Two European cut velvets for trade in West Africa with elephant and palm tree motif

Elephant and Palm Cut Velvets, detail

Two European cut velvets for trade in West Africa with elephant and palm tree motif

Chess Piece Cut Velvet

European cut velvet for trade in West Africa.

Chess Piece Cut Velvet, detail

European cut velvet for trade in West Africa

Cut Velvet

European cut velvet for trade in West Africa

Cut Velvet, detail

European cut velvet for trade in West Africa

Ewe Cloth, Man’s cloth, Ewe people, eastern Ghana or south-west Togo

Cotton, early to mid 20th century, 324 x 170cm (10’8” x 5’7”).

In weft-faced style with interesting variations of the normal regular layout and a single vibrant yellow block.

Ewe Cloth, Man’s cloth, detail, Ewe people, eastern Ghana or south-west Togo

Cotton, early to mid 20th century, 324 x 170cm (10’8” x 5’7”).

In weft-faced style with interesting variations of the normal regular layout and a single vibrant yellow block.

Ewe cloth, Man’s cloth, Ewe people, eastern Ghana or south-west Togo

Cotton, mid-20th century, 300 x 16 cm (9’10” x 5’4”).

Among the elaborate weft-float motifs on this cloth is one near the centre that appears to show two weavers laying out the warp for a cloth.

Ewe cloth, Man’s cloth, detail, Ewe people, eastern Ghana or south-west Togo

Cotton, mid-20th century, 300 x 16 cm (9’10” x 5’4”).

Among the elaborate weft-float motifs on this cloth is one near the centre that appears to show two weavers laying out the warp for a cloth.

Ewe cloth, Man’s cloth, Ewe people, eastern Ghana or south-west Togo.

Cotton, silk, early to mid-20th century, 304 x 165cm (10’ x 5’5”).

Only the wealthiest chiefs could afford to commission a cloth with this profusion of varied designs from a highly skilled master weaver.

Ewe cloth, Man’s cloth, detail, Ewe people, eastern Ghana or south-west Togo.

Cotton, silk, early to mid-20th century, 304 x 165cm (10’ x 5’5”).

Only the wealthiest chiefs could afford to commission a cloth with this profusion of varied designs from a highly skilled master weaver.

Ewe cloth, Man’s cloth, Ewe people, eastern Ghana or south-west Togo

Cotton, early to mid- 20th century, 290 x 170cm (9’6” x 5’7”).

Distinctive style with elongated float motifs.

Ewe cloth, Man’s cloth, detail, Ewe people, eastern Ghana or south-west Togo

Cotton, early to mid- 20th century, 290 x 170cm (9’6” x 5’7”).

Distinctive style with elongated float motifs.

Ewe cloth, Man’s cloth, Ewe people, eastern Ghana or south-west Togo

Cotton, early to mid- 20th century, 316 x 175cm (10’4” x 5’9”).

The solid blue strips are extremely unusual in Ewe weaving and resulting in an uncharacteristically minimal appearance.

Ewe cloth, Man’s cloth, detail, Ewe people, eastern Ghana or south-west Togo

Cotton, early to mid- 20th century, 316 x 175cm (10’4” x 5’9”).

The solid blue strips are extremely unusual in Ewe weaving and resulting in an uncharacteristically minimal appearance.

Ewe cloth, Man’s cloth, Ewe people, eastern Ghana or south-west Togo

Hand-spun cotton, 19th century or 20th century, 224 x 153cm (7’4”x 5’).

Red and white cloths with a distinct lower border strip are a regular occurrence among early Ewe textiles, but this variant with inset tassels in red, white and blue cotton and red tapestry weave patterns is unique.

Ewe cloth, Man’s cloth, detail, Ewe people, eastern Ghana or south-west Togo

Hand-spun cotton, 19th century or 20th century, 224 x 153cm (7’4”x 5’).

Red and white cloths with a distinct lower border strip are a regular occurrence among early Ewe textiles, but this variant with inset tassels in red, white and blue cotton and red tapestry weave patterns is unique.

Fante flag, Ghana

Circa 1930’s 139 x 93cm (4’6’ x 3’0”).

A chief on his stool, his spokesman (with staff), and seated followers. The surreal detail of Queen Victoria is a later repair.

Fante flag, detail, Ghana

Circa 1930’s 139 x 93cm (4’6’ x 3’0”).

A chief on his stool, his spokesman (with staff), and seated followers. The surreal detail of Queen Victoria is a later repair.

Fante flag, Ghana

Circa 1950, 194 x 130cm (6’4” x 4’3”).

A multi-headed spirit figure nurtures the Company while threatening rivals.

Fante flag, detail, Ghana

Circa 1950, 194 x 130cm (6’4” x 4’3”).

A multi-headed spirit figure nurtures the Company while threatening rivals.

Woman’s wrapper cloth or man’s shawl, Nigeria

Silk and hand-spun cotton, 19th Century, 214 x 144cm (7’x 4’9”).

This remarkable cloth has some similarities to a few strip samples collected early in the 20th century among the Jukun of the Benue valley in Central Nigeria but is the only known example of the type.

Woman’s wrapper cloth or man’s shawl, detail, Nigeria

Silk and hand-spun cotton, 19th Century, 214 x 144cm (7’x 4’9”).

This remarkable cloth has some similarities to a few strip samples collected early in the 20th century among the Jukun of the Benue valley in Central Nigeria but is the only known example of the type.

Woman’s wrapper cloth, elejo, Igbin village group, Igbomina Yoruba, Nigeria

Hand-spun cotton.

Marriage cloth found only in the highest status families.

Woman’s wrapper cloth, elejo, detail, Igbin village group, Igbomina Yoruba, Nigeria

Hand-spun cotton.

Marriage cloth found only in the highest status families.

Woman’s shawl cloth, aso oke, Yoruba people, Nigeria

Silk and hand-spun cotton, late 19th Century.

175 x 110cm (5’9” x 3’7”)

Figurative extra weft float patterning was extremely rare on Yoruba aso oke in this period.

Woman’s shawl cloth, aso oke, detail, Yoruba people, Nigeria

Silk and hand-spun cotton, late 19th Century.

175 x 110cm (5’9” x 3’7”)

Figurative extra weft float patterning was extremely rare on Yoruba aso oke in this period.

Man’s wrapper cloth, aso olona, Ijebu Yoruba, Nigeria

Hand- and machine- spun cotton, early 20th Century.

These cloths were worn as insignia of office be elderly men belonging to a so- called Ogboni society, which maintained a shrine to the Earth and had an important role in selecting Yoruba kings. The designs are said to represent water spirits.

Man’s wrapper cloth, aso olona, detail, Ijebu Yoruba, Nigeria

Hand- and machine- spun cotton, early 20th Century.

These cloths were worn as insignia of office be elderly men belonging to a so- called Ogboni society, which maintained a shrine to the Earth and had an important role in selecting Yoruba kings. The designs are said to represent water spirits.

Blanket, luru, Hausa people, northern Nigeria

Hand-spun cotton, 20th Century.

244 x 130cm (8’ x 4’3”)

Blanket, luru, detail, Hausa people, northern Nigeria

Hand-spun cotton, 20th Century.

244 x 130cm (8’ x 4’3”)

Man’s wrapper cloth, Bondoukou region of north eastern Côte D’lvoire

260 x 145cm (8’6” x 4’9”)

The quality of the weaving and the complexity of design suggest that this is among the earliest examples known from the region, perhaps dating to the late 19th century. Hand-spun indigo and white cotton, machine-spun coloured thread.

Man’s wrapper cloth, detail, Bondoukou region of north eastern Côte D’lvoire

260 x 145cm (8’6” x 4’9”)

The quality of the weaving and the complexity of design suggest that this is among the earliest examples known from the region, perhaps dating to the late 19th century. Hand-spun indigo and white cotton, machine-spun coloured thread.

Wrapper Cloth, Côte D’lvoire

Early 20th Century, 260 x 168cm (8’6” x 5’6”).

Although many people wore resist patterned indigo dyed cloths in this area until the 1950’s, very few early examples such as this have survived.

Wrapper Cloth, detail, Côte D’lvoire

Early 20th Century, 260 x 168cm (8’6” x 5’6”).

Although many people wore resist patterned indigo dyed cloths in this area until the 1950’s, very few early examples such as this have survived.

Rare cloth, Côte D’lvoire

Hand-spun indigo and white cotton, machine-spun coloured thread, first half 20th  century.

183 x 112cm (6’ x 3’8”)

The basic checkerboard of Malian blankets was adapted by local weavers, here by the addition of figurative extra-weft float motifs in a distinctive style. The exact origin of this variant is not known but some examples in the Museum der Kulturen Basel were collected in Gouro country in the first half of the 20th Century.

Rare cloth, detail, Côte D’lvoire

Hand-spun indigo and white cotton, machine-spun coloured thread, first half 20th  century.

183 x 112cm (6’ x 3’8”)

The basic checkerboard of Malian blankets was adapted by local weavers, here by the addition of figurative extra-weft float motifs in a distinctive style. The exact origin of this variant is not known but some examples in the Museum der Kulturen Basel were collected in Gouro country in the first half of the 20th Century.

Bogolanfini woman’s wrapper cloth, Bamana people, Beledougou region, Mali

Hand-spun cotton, late 20th Century.

188 x 99cm (6’2” x 3’3”)

Bogolan cloth uses iron derived from mud and tannin from leaves.

Bogolanfini woman’s wrapper cloth, detail, Bamana people, Beledougou region, Mali

Hand-spun cotton, late 20th Century.

188 x 99cm (6’2” x 3’3”)

Bogolan cloth uses iron derived from mud and tannin from leaves.

Prestige wedding hanging, arkilla munnga, Mali

Wool weft, cotton warp, early 20th Century.

431 x 127cm (14’2” x 4’2”)

Woven by Songhay speaking maabuube weavers in the vicinity of Lake Faguibine, these cloths were used primarily by families of nomadic Maures as hangings in marriage tents.

Prestige wedding hanging, arkilla munnga, detail, Mali

Wool weft, cotton warp, early 20th Century.

431 x 127cm (14’2” x 4’2”)

Woven by Songhay speaking maabuube weavers in the vicinity of Lake Faguibine, these cloths were used primarily by families of nomadic Maures as hangings in marriage tents.

Blanket, dampe or damiye, Soninke or Bamana people, Mali

Hand-spun cotton, mid 20th Century, 188 x 106cm (6’2” x 3’2”)

Blanket, dampe or damiye, detail, Soninke or Bamana people, Mali

Hand-spun cotton, mid 20th Century, 188 x 106cm (6’2” x 3’2”)