The traditional, handcrafted textiles of Africa are sumptuous, intricate, and steeped in cultural significance. Region by region, African Textiles covers, as no other volume has, the handmade textiles of West, North, East, Central, and Southern Africa, outlining the range of weaving techniques, and the different types of looms, materials, and dyes that create these sumptuous works. Nor does it neglect the cultural context of African textiles, assessing the various influences of religion, culture, trade, tradition, fashion, and the changing role of women that inform their creation.
The breathtaking skill and creativity of the African peoples are presented here in radiant color—the gorgeous stripweaves of the Ashanti and the Ewe; the lace weaves of the Yoruba and the bogolanfini mud cloths from Mali and West Africa; the Berber weaves from Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia in North Africa; the unique, crocheted, embroidered, and feathered hats from Cameroon; the ancient weaving tradition of Ethiopia; the beadwork of the Zulu, Xhosa, and Ndebele peoples of Southern Africa; and the Asian-derived tradition of weaving silk and raphia in Madagascar.
A guide to African textile collections open to the public, a glossary, and suggestions for further reading make this volume a practical as well as beautiful guide to the rich art of African textiles.
John Gillow has spent over three decades studying, collecting, and lecturing on textiles. His other books include Textiles of the Islamic World and Indian Textiles.