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Nettle fibre jacket

 

Length: 61.000 cm
Width: 149.000 cm (across arms)

Gift of Susi Dunsmore

AOA 1993.As1.2

Africa, Oceania, Americas

    Nettle fibre jacket

    From Nepal, 20th century AD

    The Himalayan mountain nettle (known locally as allo) provides a fibre which people in the region of Sankhuwasabha in Nepal use to make cloth, mats, bags, fishing-nets and other items. The Rai people in particular use nettle fibre textiles for clothing and display. They also exchange them at local markets for other goods.

    This kind of jacket was worn by men, women and children. The cloth is only woven by women. This example is made with a warp-faced weave. Viewed from the back, the jacket displays the delicate skills of the weaver both in making the fine allo cloth and in embroidering it to beautiful effect. The coloured yarns strengthen the seams but also serve as decoration.

    The production of allo cloth in Sankhuwasabha has developed rapidly since the 1980s. Through participation in a rural development programme, the weavers were introduced to new techniques and equipment, which they have since developed through their extensive knowledge of the material. For example, a combination of wool and allo yarns has been used to produce a warm and sturdy tweed much used locally, while smaller items combining cotton yarns and using traditional patterns are regularly produced for visitors and tourists.

    S. Dunsmore, Nepalese textiles (London, The British Museum Press, 1993)

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