Friday, 18 January 2013

Cloth of the month: an unique Ewe related textile.


Ewe646 - Unique nineteenth century cloth collected in the Ewe speaking region on the Ghana/ Togo border. No other examples of this style of cloth are known as yet, but we can see affinities to the Ewe tradition, and to several other cloths shown at the moment on the Ewe gallery - notably the use of a distinct red cotton border strip at the lower edge, and the narrow weft faced bands that precede the fringe at each end.


Other aspects of the decoration though are not known from any other Ewe textiles - red thread is used to weave triangular shaped weft inserts, mainly in groups of three, at irregular intervals throughout the cloth, in an unusually minimal application of a tapestry weave effect that has been used more extensively to create a kind of zigzag patterning all over cloths decorated in a style Ewe weavers call "Danhume".


Even more oddly there are threads of red, blue, or red and blue in combination, inserted as supplementary wefts, again mainly in groups of three, that are allowed to hang loosely from the front of the fabric. Most of these inserts are at the centre of a cloth strip, some are at the edge. The white and blue threads are handspun cotton. Altogether a very interesting cloth. However there are serious condition issues with the piece - it has quite a number of mostly faint stains as shown, and a few small holes which have been patched on the reverse face by a professional conservator. The price reflects these condition issues. Measurements: 93ins x 62, 236cm x 157.

Click on the photos to enlarge. More details on our Ewe gallery here.

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