Eye Candy, Fashion, amp The Essential Art of African Textiles

3 years ago

Fashion: The Essential Art of African Textiles

The earliest surviving sub-Saharan African textiles are cloth fragments and parchment fragments that date to the ninth century BC from sites at Igbo Ukwu of the Igbo people of Nigeria. Some twelfth century cloth fragments date from the Tellem caves in Mali. Surviving thirteenth century samples originate from Benin City in Nigeria.
African textiles are a part of African cultural heritage that came to America along with the slave trade. As many slaves were skilled in the weaving, this skill was used as another form of income for the slave owner.
In most of Africa the weavers were men while the women spun the thread. The weavers in many of the countries were part of a caste-like group and sometimes slaves to noble families. In Yoruba compounds were used where master weavers would teach all the boys weaving and all the girls would learn to spin and dye the yarn. And children did some jobs too, like providing fabric and also weaved at a very young age of 4.

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The patterns of African textiles fall into three categories: woven, dyed, and printed or painted. In many woven fabrics, like kente cloth, narrow hand-loomed bands are joined together. Curiously, the designs of many dyed fabrics echo the structure imposed by the loom, conveying a sense that the strip, or band, is to African art as the grid is to Western postwar painting.




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