Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Cloth of the month: An Ewe chief’s robe.


E816 - Superb complete example of a rare style of Ewe chief's cloth. In this style the weaver uses the three weft block layout typical of many early Ewe cloths but extends the length of the pattern blocks and alternates them with adjacent strips. More often than not the weft float motifs on these cloths are as here rather blocky chickens executed in orange thread, suggesting that they are all the work of a single weaver or at least a single workshop. For a more varied but incomplete example see Adler & Barnard African Majesty figure 114. A cloth in the same style in the Museum fur Volkerkunde, Dresden, was accessioned in 1910. On our piece the background cloth combines an orange warp with a black weft. In excellent complete condition. Larger than is typical for Ewe cloths. Dates from circa 1900-30. Measurement: 142 inches x 92 ins, 360cm x 234cm


The scanned photos below show the Dresden cloth, which was collected in 1910 by E. Gutschow, who noted: “Kete, country cloth from Keta. This cloth is especially made for rich people. It is artistic work with many designs.” [*]



Ewe men’s cloth, collected by E. Gutschow, 1910 in Keta, Ghana. Museum fur Volkerkunde, Dresden. Accession number 29 744.

*Source: Silvia Dolz “ Textilien aus Westafrika im Museum fur Volkerkunde Dresden” in Abhandlungen und Berichte der Staatlichen Ethnographischen Sammlungen Sachsen (2005).

Click on photos to enlarge. Click here to see E816 on our gallery site.

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