Textiles of Africa occupy a unique spot in the history of world textiles: Their use ranges from clothing, tent awnings, wall hangings, and bed covers: they also indicate the wealth of the owner, and in many cases, his social standing and possessions. Historically, textiles in Africa have also been used as currency. Therefore it is a pity that most western perception of this genre centers on its ‘craft.’ Of course, African textiles are craft-based, but they are so much more than that.
Africa is a massive continent, with immense cultural and geographical diversity, so the only way to examine its textile traditions in such an article is to divide the elements under heads: (more…)
Last week, I had written about dyes extracted from animals. In continuation of the story of natural dyes, I will describe the primary dyes extracted from plant sources and the often violent history associated with at least one of these. (more…)