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Silk in Africa: A Region at Risk
     

Silk in Africa: A Region at Risk

by Chris Spring, Julie Hudson
 

The rich and diverse range of silk textiles from Africa are an unexpected revelation. This book focuses on over 30 pieces from the British Museum’s spectacular collection, bringing together for the first time the highly distinctive traditions of silk weaving and embroidery from throughout the African continent. These range from textiles commissioned by

Overview

The rich and diverse range of silk textiles from Africa are an unexpected revelation. This book focuses on over 30 pieces from the British Museum’s spectacular collection, bringing together for the first time the highly distinctive traditions of silk weaving and embroidery from throughout the African continent. These range from textiles commissioned by royalty and high-ranking officials, such as the striking cloths of the Asante from Ghana or gowns from Ethiopia encrusted with gold, to less prestigious but no less glorious pieces, such as a multicolored Merina burial shroud from Madagascar. As a pattern source the book provides inspiration for striking color and tonal combinations as well as myriad ideas for using stripes, geometrics, and stylized figurative motifs.

In their stimulating introduction the authors discuss who made the textiles, how ideas traveled across the continent, and the significance of pattern and symbolism. In addition, all the principal techniques are explained, while brief commentaries highlight the design features.

Chris Spring and Julie Hudson have both traveled in Africa and are the joint authors of North African Textiles. They are curators in the Department of Ethnography at the British Museum.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
As a cultural art, textiles are under constant change as countries modernize, so preservation is a challenge. These two titles are part of the "Fabric Folios" series on regional textile arts produced by the University of Washington Press in an attempt to document specific aspects of this art form. (The four previous titles are Embroidery from India and Pakistan, Miao Textiles from China, Printed and Dyed Textiles from Africa, and Textiles from Guatemala.) The diversity of Mexican culture is reflected in its textile arts, as shown in Textiles from Mexico by Sayer, a researcher and author of several books on Mexican culture arts and heritage. Traditional costumes, the construction of cloth and garments, and the symbolism of traditional ornamentation are all detailed. While the modern tourist trade influences much of the current production of textiles in parts of Mexico, cultural roots back to the Maya civilization can still be seen in the work. In Silk in Africa, Spring and Hudson, both curators in the British Museum's Department of Ethnography and authors in the field of African cultural arts, specifically address the use of silk in selected African regions. Each region had different methods or techniques of silk construction or ornamentation, but for many locations silk was a status symbol, used to indicate nobility, to honor ancestors, or in religious context. The layout of these books is the same, with a 14-page section of illustrated text followed by a catalog of detailed photos of textiles taken from the museum's Department of Ethnography. The organization is crisp and attractive, and the more than 100 full-color illustrations are delightfully detailed and clear. Both books serve as a charming, lightweight introduction to their topics, but, unfortunately, the paperback binding of the two books reviewed here did not hold up to normal usage-a major disappointment. Recommended for academic or specialized collections.-Karen Ellis, Nicholson Memorial Lib. Syst., Garland, TX Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780295982359
Publisher:
University of Washington Press
Publication date:
08/28/2002
Series:
Fabric Folios Series
Pages:
88
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.36(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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