This week I am excited to be bringing you the first ever guest contribution to our blog, an extended consideration of the patterns in wool blankets from Mali written by eminent Swiss scholar Bernhard Gardi. He was for many years the curator of the Africa Department of the Museum der Kulturen, Basel and is the author of numerous book and articles on African textile related topics. Among these are the catalogues of two of the important exhibitions that he curated Woven Beauty: The Art of African Textiles (2009, Christoph Merian Verlag) and Le Boubou: C’est Chic (2000, Christoph Merian Verlag).
In his post Bernhard will look at woven patterns in a rare type of wool blanket called an arkilla kunta, shown below (MKB_III_20462 –click photo to enlarge)
and he will explore the similarities and differences with the much more common arkilla kerka (below, click to enlarge, photo by Bernhard Gardi, 1979.)