Textiles collection
Meisen Kimono, detail

The flowers and foliage that decorated meisen kimono, were manipulated and modernised to provide a contemporary visual statement.

 

Apron with mix of natural and synthetic dyes, Gyantse, Tibet

20th century

This town was once located on a major trade route between India and Tibet. Many good quality textiles of this era contain synthetic colours, a luxury commodity when first imported by traders at the end of the 19th century. Originally they were used sparingly as highlights, but even Tibetan natural dye enthusiast tend to ‘augment’ natural colours, brightening them with synthetic materials – a deeply ingrained habit.

72 cm x 48 cm (2’4” x1’7”)

 

Apron with mix of natural and synthetic dyes, detail, Gyantse, Tibet

20th century

This town was once located on a major trade route between India and Tibet. Many good quality textiles of this era contain synthetic colours, a luxury commodity when first imported by traders at the end of the 19th century. Originally they were used sparingly as highlights, but even Tibetan natural dye enthusiast tend to ‘augment’ natural colours, brightening them with synthetic materials – a deeply ingrained habit.

72 cm x 48 cm (2’4” x1’7”)

 

Apron with natural dyes, Nyalam, Tibet

20th century

Green shades were traditionally achieved by overdye-ing indigo with a yellow shade (often ground rhubarb root). This technique produced variable results and the yellow component tends to fade over time. Synthetic greens are brighter and flatter in tone. Similarly, brown wool over-dyed wit indigo produces a glossy dark brown rather than a true uniform black. The white stripes are typical of aprons from the Nyalam, area.

71 cm x 66 c, (2’4” x 2’2”)

Apron with natural dyes, detail, Nyalam, Tibet

20th century

Green shades were traditionally achieved by overdye-ing indigo with a yellow shade (often ground rhubarb root). This technique produced variable results and the yellow component tends to fade over time. Synthetic greens are brighter and flatter in tone. Similarly, brown wool over-dyed wit indigo produces a glossy dark brown rather than a true uniform black. The white stripes are typical of aprons from the Nyalam, area.

71 cm x 66 c, (2’4” x 2’2”)

Apron with natural dyes, Shigatse, Tibet

19th century

Tibetan trestle looms and backstrap looms by nomads are capable of producing lengths of fabric with a maximum width of around 30 centimetres. Most Tibetan textiles are therefore made up of strips sewn together. The number of panels used in an apron is dictated by the size required. A young girl’s apron might only use two and a half panels. No attempt is made to align the stripes.

87 cm x 77 cm (2’10” x 2’6”)

Apron with natural dyes, detail, Shigatse, Tibet

19th century

Tibetan trestle looms and backstrap looms by nomads are capable of producing lengths of fabric with a maximum width of around 30 centimetres. Most Tibetan textiles are therefore made up of strips sewn together. The number of panels used in an apron is dictated by the size required. A young girl’s apron might only use two and a half panels. No attempt is made to align the stripes.

87 cm x 77 cm (2’10” x 2’6”)

Apron with natural dyes, southern Tibet

20th century, 69 cm x 58 cm (2’3″ x 1’11)

Apron with natural dyes, detail, southern Tibet

20th century, 69 cm x 58 cm (2’3″ x 1’11)

Winter chuba (coat), western Tibet

20th century, 143 cm x 147 cm (4’8″ x 4’10”)

Winter chuba (coat), detail, western Tibet

20th century, 143 cm x 147 cm (4’8″ x 4’10”)

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

Ceremonial Cloth

Circa 1450-1650

Made in Gujarat for the Indonesian market, found in Sulawesi, Indonesia

3.60 x 1.02m (11’8” x 3’4”)

Block-printed using dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

On loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2004-2010

Ceremonial Cloth, detail

Circa 1450-1650

Made in Gujarat for the Indonesian market, found in Sulawesi, Indonesia

3.60 x 1.02m (11’8” x 3’4”)

Block-printed using dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

On loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2004-2010

Uncut cloth with three different designs

17th century, Gujarat, found in Sulawesi, Indonesia

4.32 x 0.80m (14’2” x 2’8”)

Block-printed using dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

On loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2004-2010

Uncut cloth with three different designs, detail 1

17th century, Gujarat, found in Sulawesi, Indonesia

4.32 x 0.80m (14’2” x 2’8”)

Block-printed using dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

On loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2004-2010

Uncut cloth with three different designs, detail 2

17th century, Gujarat, found in Sulawesi, Indonesia

4.32 x 0.80m (14’2” x 2’8”)

Block-printed using dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

On loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2004-2010

Uncut cloth with three different designs, detail 3

17th century, Gujarat, found in Sulawesi, Indonesia

4.32 x 0.80m (14’2” x 2’8”)

Block-printed using dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

On loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2004-2010

Ceremonial Cloth

17th century

Made in Gujarat for the Indonesian market

2.80 x 1.02m (9’2” x 3’6”)

Block printed using dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

Ceremonial Cloth, detail

17th century

Made in Gujarat for the Indonesian market

2.80 x 1.02m (9’2” x 3’6”)

Block printed using dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

‘Mata Hari’, Ceremonial Cloth

18th or 19th century, Coromandel Coast, found in Sulawesi, Indonesia

2.70 x 2.04m (8’10’ x 6’8”)

Chintz, hand drawn centre with printed outer decoration using dyes and mordants on cotton cloth

On loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2004-2010

‘Mata Hari’, Ceremonial Cloth, detail

18th or 19th century, Coromandel Coast, found in Sulawesi, Indonesia

2.70 x 2.04m (8’10’ x 6’8”)

Chintz, hand drawn centre with printed outer decoration using dyes and mordants on cotton cloth

On loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2004-2010

Chintz Fragment with Grotesques in an Imaginary Landscape

Late 17th-early 18th century

Coromandel Cost for the Japanese market, reportedly found in Japan

0.38 x 0.18m (1’3” x 0’7”)

Chintz, hand drawn using dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

 

Chintz Fragment with Grotesques in an Imaginary Landscape, detail

Late 17th-early 18th century

Coromandel Cost for the Japanese market, reportedly found in Japan

0.38 x 0.18m (1’3” x 0’7”)

Chintz, hand drawn using dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

 

‘The Herb Picker’ Ceremonial Cloth

Circa 17th Century

Coromandel Coast, reportedly found in Sri Lanka

1.55 x 1.09m (5’1” x 3’9”)

Chintz, hand drawn using dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

On loan to the Victoria and albert Museum, London, 2004-2010

Exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2013-2014

Published HALI 172, 2012, pp.78-81; Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800, 2013, pp.215-216

‘The Herb Picker’ Ceremonial Cloth, detail

Circa 17th Century

Coromandel Coast, reportedly found in Sri Lanka

1.55 x 1.09m (5’1” x 3’9”)

Chintz, hand drawn using dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

On loan to the Victoria and albert Museum, London, 2004-2010

Exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2013-2014

Published HALI 172, 2012, pp.78-81; Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800, 2013, pp.215-216

‘Fortune Teller’ Fragment

18th century

Coromandel Coast, reportedly found in Sri Lanka

0.97 x 0.90m (3’2” x 3’0”)

Chintz, hand drawn using dyes, mordants and resists on the cotton cloth, unrestored

On loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2004-2010

Published in HALI 168, 2011, pp.80-89

‘Fortune Teller’ Fragment, detail

18th century

Coromandel Coast, reportedly found in Sri Lanka

0.97 x 0.90m (3’2” x 3’0”)

Chintz, hand drawn using dyes, mordants and resists on the cotton cloth, unrestored

On loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2004-2010

Published in HALI 168, 2011, pp.80-89

‘Fortune Teller’ Fragment, detail

18th century

Coromandel Coast, reportedly found in Sri Lanka

0.97 x 0.90m (3’2” x 3’0”)

Chintz, hand drawn using dyes, mordants and resists on the cotton cloth, unrestored

On loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2004-2010

Published in HALI 168, 2011, pp.80-89

Canopy

Late 18th-19th century

Coromandel Coast, reportedly found in Sri Lanka

1.30 x 1.18m (4’3” x 3’10”)

Chintz, hand drawn using dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth, unrestored

Canopy, detail

Late 18th-19th century

Coromandel Coast, reportedly found in Sri Lanka

1.30 x 1.18m (4’3” x 3’10”)

Chintz, hand drawn using dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth, unrestored

Palampore, Decorative Hanging

Circa 1700-25

Coromandel Coast, reportedly found in Sri Lanka

1.86 x 1.11m (6’1” x 3’6”)

Chintz, hand drawn using dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

On loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum 2004-2010

Published by HALI 168, 2011, pp.80-89

Palampore, Decorative Hanging, detail

Circa 1700-25

Coromandel Coast, reportedly found in Sri Lanka

1.86 x 1.11m (6’1” x 3’6”)

Chintz, hand drawn using dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

On loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum 2004-2010

Published by HALI 168, 2011, pp.80-89

Floral Patterned Sarong on a pale yellow-tan ground with wavy ‘Tumpal’ ends

First half of the 18th Century

Coromandel Coast, found in Sulawesi, Indonesia

3.78 x 1.20m (12’5” x 3’1”)

Chintz, hand drawn using dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

On loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2004-2010

Floral Patterned Sarong on a pale yellow-tan ground with wavy ‘Tumpal’ ends, detail

First half of the 18th Century

Coromandel Coast, found in Sulawesi, Indonesia

3.78 x 1.20m (12’5” x 3’1”)

Chintz, hand drawn using dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

On loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2004-2010

Chintz Somana Tuppotiya with slate-blue floral ‘Racemes’

Late 18th century- early 19th century

Coromandel Coast, reportedly found in Sri Lanka

3.53 x 1.04m (11’7” x 3’5”)

Chintz, hand drawn using dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

Chintz Somana Tuppotiya with slate-blue floral ‘Racemes’, detail

Late 18th century- early 19th century

Coromandel Coast, reportedly found in Sri Lanka

3.53 x 1.04m (11’7” x 3’5”)

Chintz, hand drawn using dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

Somana Tuppotiya with Tumpal ends and floral banded centre

19th century

Coromandel Coast, reportedly found in Sri Lanka

3.23 x 1.12m (10’7” x 3’8”)

Chintz, hand drawn dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

Somana Tuppotiya with Tumpal ends and floral banded centre, detail

19th century

Coromandel Coast, reportedly found in Sri Lanka

3.23 x 1.12m (10’7” x 3’8”)

Chintz, hand drawn dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

Three Children’s Costumes, costume 1

18th century

Coromandel Coast, constructed later.

  1. Red-ground chintz, cotton bib with initials and lace work
  2. Red-ground chintz
  3. White-ground chintz

Chintz, hand drawn dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

Three Children’s Costumes, costume 1 detail

18th century

Coromandel Coast, constructed later.

  1. Red-ground chintz, cotton bib with initials and lace work
  2. Red-ground chintz
  3. White-ground chintz

Chintz, hand drawn dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

Three Children’s Costumes, costume 2

18th century

Coromandel Coast, constructed later.

  1. Red-ground chintz, cotton bib with initials and lace work
  2. Red-ground chintz
  3. White-ground chintz

Chintz, hand drawn dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

Three Children’s Costumes, costume 2 detail

18th century

Coromandel Coast, constructed later.

  1. Red-ground chintz, cotton bib with initials and lace work
  2. Red-ground chintz
  3. White-ground chintz

Chintz, hand drawn dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

Three Children’s Costumes, costume 3

18th century

Coromandel Coast, constructed later.

  1. Red-ground chintz, cotton bib with initials and lace work
  2. Red-ground chintz
  3. White-ground chintz

Chintz, hand drawn dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

Three Children’s Costumes, costume 3 detail

18th century

Coromandel Coast, constructed later.

  1. Red-ground chintz, cotton bib with initials and lace work
  2. Red-ground chintz
  3. White-ground chintz

Chintz, hand drawn dyes, mordants and resists on cotton cloth

Furnishing Fabric

19th century

Northern Europe (?), reportedly found in Sri Lanka

0.91 x 0.76m (3’0” x 2’6”)

Block-printed or roller printed on cotton cloth

Furnishing Fabric, detail

19th century

Northern Europe (?), reportedly found in Sri Lanka

0.91 x 0.76m (3’0” x 2’6”)

Block-printed or roller printed on cotton cloth

This is not a chintz; rather it has been block-printed and was most likely produced in one of countless factories operating in Holland, Belgium or possibly even Russia during the second half of the 19th century, attempting to compete with an entire range of traditional Indian textile exports.

Abstract Meisen Kimono

Instead of the traditional pictorial symbols, many meisen employed abstract and geometric designs to echo the spirit of the age.

Abstract Meisen Kimono, detail

Instead of the traditional pictorial symbols, many meisen employed abstract and geometric designs to echo the spirit of the age.

Abstract Meisen Kimono, detail

Instead of the traditional pictorial symbols, many meisen employed abstract and geometric designs to echo the spirit of the age.

Abstract Meisen Kimono

Instead of the traditional pictorial symbols, many meisen employed abstract and geometric designs to echo the spirit of the age.

Abstract Meisen Kimono, detail

Instead of the traditional pictorial symbols, many meisen employed abstract and geometric designs to echo the spirit of the age.

Abstract Meisen Kimono, detail

Instead of the traditional pictorial symbols, many meisen employed abstract and geometric designs to echo the spirit of the age.

Abstract Meisen Kimono

Instead of the traditional pictorial symbols, many meisen employed abstract and geometric designs to echo the spirit of the age.

Abstract Meisen Kimono, detail

Instead of the traditional pictorial symbols, many meisen employed abstract and geometric designs to echo the spirit of the age.

Abstract Meisen Kimono, detail

Instead of the traditional pictorial symbols, many meisen employed abstract and geometric designs to echo the spirit of the age.

Painterly Meisen Kimono

The techniques of meisen meant that painterly effects, such as brushstrokes, could be created on the cloth in a way not previously possible with stencils.

Painterly Meisen Kimono, detail

The techniques of meisen meant that painterly effects, such as brushstrokes, could be created on the cloth in a way not previously possible with stencils.

Painterly Meisen Kimono, detail

The techniques of meisen meant that painterly effects, such as brushstrokes, could be created on the cloth in a way not previously possible with stencils.

Painterly Meisen Kimono

The techniques of meisen meant that painterly effects, such as brushstrokes, could be created on the cloth in a way not previously possible with stencils.

Painterly Meisen Kimono, detail

The techniques of meisen meant that painterly effects, such as brushstrokes, could be created on the cloth in a way not previously possible with stencils.

Painterly Meisen Kimono, detail

The techniques of meisen meant that painterly effects, such as brushstrokes, could be created on the cloth in a way not previously possible with stencils.

Painterly Meisen Kimono

The techniques of meisen meant that painterly effects, such as brushstrokes, could be created on the cloth in a way not previously possible with stencils.

Painterly Meisen Kimono, detail

The techniques of meisen meant that painterly effects, such as brushstrokes, could be created on the cloth in a way not previously possible with stencils.

Painterly Meisen Kimono, detail

The techniques of meisen meant that painterly effects, such as brushstrokes, could be created on the cloth in a way not previously possible with stencils.

Meisen Kimono

In the meisen examples the ribbons take on many forms, but in all cases they dominate the entire design.

Lined Meisen Kimono, detail

In the meisen examples the ribbons take on many forms, but in all cases they dominate the entire design.

Lined Meisen Kimono, detail

In the meisen examples the ribbons take on many forms, but in all cases they dominate the entire design.

Lined Meisen Kimono

In the meisen examples the ribbons take on many forms, but in all cases they dominate the entire design.

Lined Meisen Kimono, detail

In the meisen examples the ribbons take on many forms, but in all cases they dominate the entire design.

Lined Meisen Kimono, detail

In the meisen examples the ribbons take on many forms, but in all cases they dominate the entire design.

Lined Meisen Kimono

In the meisen examples the ribbons take on many forms, but in all cases they dominate the entire design.

Lined Meisen Kimono, detail

In the meisen examples the ribbons take on many forms, but in all cases they dominate the entire design.

Lined Meisen Kimono, detail

In the meisen examples the ribbons take on many forms, but in all cases they dominate the entire design.

Traditional Meisen Kimono

The new meisen kimono did not just draw their designs from contemporary sources. Much of the imagery was taken from traditional Japanese art and designs that had been used on kimono for centuries.

 

Traditional Meisen Kimono, detail

The new meisen kimono did not just draw their designs from contemporary sources. Much of the imagery was taken from traditional Japanese art and designs that had been used on kimono for centuries.

 

Traditional Meisen Kimono, detail

The new meisen kimono did not just draw their designs from contemporary sources. Much of the imagery was taken from traditional Japanese art and designs that had been used on kimono for centuries.

 

Traditional Meisen Kimono

The new meisen kimono did not just draw their designs from contemporary sources. Much of the imagery was taken from traditional Japanese art and designs that had been used on kimono for centuries.

 

Traditional Meisen Kimono, detail

The new meisen kimono did not just draw their designs from contemporary sources. Much of the imagery was taken from traditional Japanese art and designs that had been used on kimono for centuries.

 

Traditional Meisen Kimono, detail

The new meisen kimono did not just draw their designs from contemporary sources. Much of the imagery was taken from traditional Japanese art and designs that had been used on kimono for centuries.

 

Traditional Meisen Kimono

The new meisen kimono did not just draw their designs from contemporary sources. Much of the imagery was taken from traditional Japanese art and designs that had been used on kimono for centuries.

 

Traditional Meisen Kimono, detail

The new meisen kimono did not just draw their designs from contemporary sources. Much of the imagery was taken from traditional Japanese art and designs that had been used on kimono for centuries.

 

Traditional Meisen Kimono, detail

The new meisen kimono did not just draw their designs from contemporary sources. Much of the imagery was taken from traditional Japanese art and designs that had been used on kimono for centuries.

 

Flower Meisen Kimono

The flowers and foliage that decorated meisen kimono, were manipulated and modernised to provide a contemporary visual statement.

 

Flower Meisen Kimono, detail

The flowers and foliage that decorated meisen kimono, were manipulated and modernised to provide a contemporary visual statement.

 

Flower Meisen Kimono, detail

The flowers and foliage that decorated meisen kimono, were manipulated and modernised to provide a contemporary visual statement.

 

Flower Meisen Kimono

The flowers and foliage that decorated meisen kimono, were manipulated and modernised to provide a contemporary visual statement.

 

Flower Meisen Kimono, detail

The flowers and foliage that decorated meisen kimono, were manipulated and modernised to provide a contemporary visual statement.

 

Flower Meisen Kimono, detail

The flowers and foliage that decorated meisen kimono, were manipulated and modernised to provide a contemporary visual statement.

 

Meisen Kimono, detail

The flowers and foliage that decorated meisen kimono, were manipulated and modernised to provide a contemporary visual statement.

 

Meisen Kimono, detail

The flowers and foliage that decorated meisen kimono, were manipulated and modernised to provide a contemporary visual statement.

 

Meisen Kimono

The new meisen kimono did not just draw their designs from contemporary sources. Much of the imagery was taken from traditional Japanese art and designs that had been used on kimono for centuries.

Meisen Kimono, detail

The new meisen kimono did not just draw their designs from contemporary sources. Much of the imagery was taken from traditional Japanese art and designs that had been used on kimono for centuries.

Meisen Kimono, detail

The new meisen kimono did not just draw their designs from contemporary sources. Much of the imagery was taken from traditional Japanese art and designs that had been used on kimono for centuries.

Flower Meisen Kimono

The flowers and foliage that decorated meisen kimono, were manipulated and modernised to provide a contemporary visual statement.

Flower Meisen Kimono, detail

The flowers and foliage that decorated meisen kimono, were manipulated and modernised to provide a contemporary visual statement.

 

Flower Meisen Kimono, detail

The flowers and foliage that decorated meisen kimono, were manipulated and modernised to provide a contemporary visual statement.

Meisen Kimono, detail

Instead of the traditional pictorial symbols, many meisen employed abstract and geometric designs to echo the spirit of the age.

Meisen Kimono

The techniques of meisen meant that painterly effects, such as brushstrokes, could be created on the cloth in a way not previously possible with stencils.

Meisen Kimono, detail

Instead of the traditional pictorial symbols, many meisen employed abstract and geometric designs to echo the spirit of the age.

Meisen Kimono, detail

Instead of the traditional pictorial symbols, many meisen employed abstract and geometric designs to echo the spirit of the age.

Meisen Kimono, detail

The techniques of meisen meant that painterly effects, such as brushstrokes, could be created on the cloth in a way not previously possible with stencils.

Meisen Kimono, detail

The techniques of meisen meant that painterly effects, such as brushstrokes, could be created on the cloth in a way not previously possible with stencils.

Meisen Kimono

In the meisen examples the ribbons take on many forms, but in all cases they dominate the entire design rather than forming a minor part.

Meisen Kimono, detail

In the meisen examples the ribbons take on many forms, but in all cases they dominate the entire design rather than forming a minor part.

Meisen Kimono, detail

In the meisen examples the ribbons take on many forms, but in all cases they dominate the entire design rather than forming a minor part.

Meisen Kimono

Traditional subject matter, patterns and symbols were adapted to fit the new art form, on which they appeared in new formats.

Meisen Kimono, detail

Traditional subject matter, patterns and symbols were adapted to fit the new art form, on which they appeared in new formats.

Meisen Kimono, detail

Traditional subject matter, patterns and symbols were adapted to fit the new art form, on which they appeared in new formats.

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”)

Display cloth, ndop, Wukari, Nigeria, Mali

Hand-spun cotton, early to mid-20th Century, for the Cameroon trade.

244 x 154cm (8’0” x 5’1”)

Figurative imagery is sometimes found on ndop made in Wukari but this large-sale depiction of a leopard, a key symbol of royal power in Cameroon, is exceptional.

Display cloth, ndop, detail, Wukari, Nigeria, Mali

Hand-spun cotton, early to mid-20th Century, for the Cameroon trade.

244 x 154cm (8’0” x 5’1”)

Figurative imagery is sometimes found on ndop made in Wukari but this large-sale depiction of a leopard, a key symbol of royal power in Cameroon, is exceptional.

Display cloth, ndop, Cameroon and Nigeria, Mali

Hand-spun cotton and red felt, early to mid-20th Century.

280 x 272cm (9’2” x 8’8”)

Ndop were highly valued and often reworked and repaired over many years. On this piece cloth that orginated in Wukari in Nigeria, the strips that are lighter in colour have been combined with strips made in Cameroon.

Display cloth, ndop, detail, Cameroon and Nigeria, Mali

Hand-spun cotton and red felt, early to mid-20th Century.

280 x 272cm (9’2” x 8’8”)

Ndop were highly valued and often reworked and repaired over many years. On this piece cloth that orginated in Wukari in Nigeria, the strips that are lighter in colour have been combined with strips made in Cameroon.

Hats for chiefs and senior men, ashetu, Grassfields region Cameroon, Mali

Hand-spun cotton, first half of 20th Century.

The original forms seem to have been derived from men’s hairstyles, but the group shown here displays a number of rarely seen variations.

Hats for chiefs and senior men, ashetu, detail, Grassfields region Cameroon, Mali

Hand-spun cotton, first half of 20th Century.

The original forms seem to have been derived from men’s hairstyles, but the group shown here displays a number of rarely seen variations.

Woman’s head shawl, tadghart adrar, Anti Atlas region, Morocco

Early 20th Century, 120 x 64cm (3’11’ x 2’1”)

It is likely that this simple piece was used as an everyday garment. It is decorated with resist dyed henna and two large pompoms- also resist dyed. Although the weave is coarse and has no woven decoration, its sheer simplicity has a remarkable effect.

Woman’s head shawl, tadghart adrar, detail, Anti Atlas region, Morocco

Early 20th Century, 120 x 64cm (3’11’ x 2’1”)

It is likely that this simple piece was used as an everyday garment. It is decorated with resist dyed henna and two large pompoms- also resist dyed. Although the weave is coarse and has no woven decoration, its sheer simplicity has a remarkable effect.

Woman’s head shawl, tadghart, Anti Atlas region, Morocco

Early 20th Century, 100 x 97cm (3’3” x 3’1’)

The background is extremely finely woven in cotton, while the pointed geometric motifs as well as the pompoms- which are a characteristic of the region- are brocaded with supplementary wefts. After leaving the loom, the piece is resist dyed with henna.

Woman’s head shawl, tadghart, detail, Anti Atlas region, Morocco

Early 20th Century, 100 x 97cm (3’3” x 3’1’)

The background is extremely finely woven in cotton, while the pointed geometric motifs as well as the pompoms- which are a characteristic of the region- are brocaded with supplementary wefts. After leaving the loom, the piece is resist dyed with henna.

Woman’s shawl, izar, High Atlas region, Morocco

20th Century, undyed wool, coloured silk, undyed cotton.

323 x 128cm (10’7” x 4’2”)

The background is a weft-faced plain weave, the white stripes are in cotton; lines and simple triangular motifs are woven with coloured wool and cotton in a weft-float technique; the central and outer motifs of the four small bands of the more elaborate decorated bands are embroidered with cotton and coloured silk in pattern darning and stem stitch. This type of shawl would typically measure up to several metres in length, so that it could be worn as a wrapper. The more decoration it had the more prestigious it would have been in a local context.

Woman’s shawl, izar, detail, High Atlas region, Morocco

20th Century, undyed wool, coloured silk, undyed cotton.

323 x 128cm (10’7” x 4’2”)

The background is a weft-faced plain weave, the white stripes are in cotton; lines and simple triangular motifs are woven with coloured wool and cotton in a weft-float technique; the central and outer motifs of the four small bands of the more elaborate decorated bands are embroidered with cotton and coloured silk in pattern darning and stem stitch. This type of shawl would typically measure up to several metres in length, so that it could be worn as a wrapper. The more decoration it had the more prestigious it would have been in a local context.

Beni Quarain woman’s shawl, tabrdut, Middle Atlas region, Morocco

20th Century, undyed brown wool and undyed cotton.

176 x 97cm (5’9” x 3’2”)

The design has 51 patterned bands. Woven in a simple weft float weave, some sections show wrapping with red woollen supplementary wefts.

Beni Quarain woman’s shawl, tabrdut, detail, Middle Atlas region, Morocco

20th Century, undyed brown wool and undyed cotton.

176 x 97cm (5’9” x 3’2”)

The design has 51 patterned bands. Woven in a simple weft float weave, some sections show wrapping with red woollen supplementary wefts.

Woman’s head shawl, tariwalt, with henna feet adrar, Anti Atlas region, Morocco

Possibly 19th Century, 101 x 80cm (3’4” x 2’8”)

The full length stripes are made in simple weave, the coloured bands are woven in a weft float technique, while the white-cotton geometric motifs are brocaded. The combination of these techniques with colourful yarns and pompoms- typically found on women’s ceremonial shawls- as well as with henna dye which is highly unusual.

Woman’s head shawl, tariwalt, with henna feet adrar, detail, Anti Atlas region, Morocco

Possibly 19th Century, 101 x 80cm (3’4” x 2’8”)

The full length stripes are made in simple weave, the coloured bands are woven in a weft float technique, while the white-cotton geometric motifs are brocaded. The combination of these techniques with colourful yarns and pompoms- typically found on women’s ceremonial shawls- as well as with henna dye which is highly unusual.

Wall hanging, arid, Chechauen, Rif region, Morocco

Late 18th– early 19th Century, (7’9” x 2’7”)

Many Chechauen embroideries display a similar design of five main motifs. The central motif-highly elaborated 8- point star made of several decorated lozenges- sits between two rectangular forms filled with a variety of small geometric figures. Both the upper and lower rectangles are bordered by a variation of the central star motif. The city of Cechauen was populated by waves of Andalusian exiles, who left the Peninsula after the conquest of Granada and the establishment of Inquisition.

Wall hanging, arid, detail, Chechauen, Rif region, Morocco

Late 18th– early 19th Century, (7’9” x 2’7”)

Many Chechauen embroideries display a similar design of five main motifs. The central motif-highly elaborated 8- point star made of several decorated lozenges- sits between two rectangular forms filled with a variety of small geometric figures. Both the upper and lower rectangles are bordered by a variation of the central star motif. The city of Cechauen was populated by waves of Andalusian exiles, who left the Peninsula after the conquest of Granada and the establishment of Inquisition.

Ceremonial belt, hizam, Fez, Morocco

20th Century, 264 x 13cm (8’8” x 5’)

Multicoloured silk belt made on a draw loom in lampas technique. The combination of the colours together with the highly stylised floral motifs, the narrowness of the bands, and the fact that at one of the ends a geometric band has been inserted, make this piece unusual.

Ceremonial belt, hizam, detail, Fez, Morocco

20th Century, 264 x 13cm (8’8” x 5’)

Multicoloured silk belt made on a draw loom in lampas technique. The combination of the colours together with the highly stylised floral motifs, the narrowness of the bands, and the fact that at one of the ends a geometric band has been inserted, make this piece unusual.

Woman’s shawl, bakhnug tamaqart, wilayah of Gabis, Southern Tunisia

Woven in very fine-spun undyed wool.

20th Century, 197 x 110cm (6’6” x 3’7”)

Once woven the piece is dyed (tasbaght) in indigo, a dye that was used up to the mid- 20th Century. The very dark blue obtained here could be achieved after several blue baths or with succession of red and blue dye baths. In this piece, we see at least seven different motifs. Motifs are woven in a simple float weave technique with undyed white cotton abiad, which does not take the dye. As in the Moroccan Middle Atlas region, weavers work from the back, counting the warps in order to introduce the cotton wefts, requiring great skill and concentration.

Woman’s shawl, bakhnug tamaqart, wilayah of Gabis, detail, Southern Tunisia

Woven in very fine-spun undyed wool.

20th Century, 197 x 110cm (6’6” x 3’7”)

Once woven the piece is dyed (tasbaght) in indigo, a dye that was used up to the mid- 20th Century. The very dark blue obtained here could be achieved after several blue baths or with succession of red and blue dye baths. In this piece, we see at least seven different motifs. Motifs are woven in a simple float weave technique with undyed white cotton abiad, which does not take the dye. As in the Moroccan Middle Atlas region, weavers work from the back, counting the warps in order to introduce the cotton wefts, requiring great skill and concentration.

Woman’s head shawl, tajira margum, Southern Tunisia

20th Century, 158 x 102cm (5’2” x 3’4”)

This type of shawl generally uses the same motifs as a bakhnug. Here the thicker band displays the motif usually known as a ‘comb’. The shawl is worn over the hair, often with the fringes over the head, usually under the larger, more rectangular bakhnug.

Woman’s head shawl, tajira margum, detail, Southern Tunisia

20th Century, 158 x 102cm (5’2” x 3’4”)

This type of shawl generally uses the same motifs as a bakhnug. Here the thicker band displays the motif usually known as a ‘comb’. The shawl is worn over the hair, often with the fringes over the head, usually under the larger, more rectangular bakhnug.

Woman’s shawl, bakhnug, Southern Tunisia

20th Century, 155 x 94cm (51” x 3’1”)

Even though the repertoire of woven motifs is restricted to similar geometrical forms, each bakhnug displays a variety that makes it unique. Here, the borders include a motif with a fish form, which in Tunisia is often considered as an apotropaic device.

Woman’s shawl, bakhnug, detail, Southern Tunisia

20th Century, 155 x 94cm (51” x 3’1”)

Even though the repertoire of woven motifs is restricted to similar geometrical forms, each bakhnug displays a variety that makes it unique. Here, the borders include a motif with a fish form, which in Tunisia is often considered as an apotropaic device.