Man's wrapper; akunitan, ('cloth of the great') made of black-dyed imported woollen blanket. Cut off unevenly at both short ends; comprises two separate pieces joined with machine stitching about 1/3 from top edge. Machine embroidered in chain stitch with animal, geometric and representational designs (elephants, birds, stools, umbrellas, gun, star and moon, porcupine?, plants) in red, yellow, white and green rayon ? thread.
- 1950 (circa)
- Made in: Ghana
- Found/Acquired: Ghana
- Width: 315 centimetres
- Length: 209 centimetres
Amongst the Ewe, Asante and Fante peoples in southern Ghana chiefs wear wrappers on ceremonial occasions made of imported cloth with elaborate appliquėd or embroidered pictorial motifs. These wrappers are popularly known as 'akunitan' (meaning 'cloths of the great' in Twi).
However, the Fon people of neighbouring Dahomey (now Republic of Benin) have been most closely associated with the production of prestigious appliquėd textiles. During the height of the Fon kingdom during the 18th and 19th centuries a guild of cloth workers based in Abomey created ceremonial textiles using appliquė for chiefs and other people of high status. The designs on these cloths were highly pictorial recording personal narratives, past events or images associated with specific kings. It is possible that early appliquė cloths were acquired by Ghanaian chiefs from Dahomey and that these inspired the development of the appliquėd akunitan cloths.
The representational designs on akunitan cloths include familiar signs of royal power and wealth and many can be associated with proverbs.
Purchased from a textile vendor in Accra in May 2010.
Africa, Oceania & the Americas
Man's wrapper; akunitan, ('cloth of the great') made of black-dyed imported woollen blanket. Cut off unevenly at both short ends; comprises two separate pieces joined with machine stitching about 1/3 from top edge. Machine embroidered in chain stitch with animal, geometric and representational designs in red, yellow, white and green rayon ? thread.
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Object reference number: EAF118578
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