More from an occasional series of posts that will highlight some rare West African textiles where the elaboration and complexity of design that usually typifies high status textiles is replaced by a more minimal aesthetic….
NW489 - Another extremely rare and early type of Yoruba women's weave cloth, dating from the late C19th or early C20th. One is shown in the classic book "Nigerian Weaving" (1980:200) by Venice Lamb and Judy Holmes and captioned "a very old pure silk Yoruba cloth." We have collected three others over the years, the last one about 5 years back. The warp is local beige and white wild silk sanyan, the weft white hand spun cotton, while the design alternates rows of openwork holes with threefold lines of supplementery weft float woven from thick loosely spun magenta silk from the trans Saharan trade. Formed of two panels of cloth joined at the centre and woven by a woman using an upright single heddle loom. Condition: loose fibres from the magenta silk have spread onto adjacent beige and white fibres in places, creating an appearance similar to slight colour bleeding, otherwise condition is excellent. Measurements: 78ins x 56, 200cm x 142.
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More details on our gallery here.