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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Cloak made of textile (goat hair), with a brightly-coloured 'eye' motif.

  • Ethnic name

  • Date

    • 19thC
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 124 centimetres
    • Width: 355 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    In North Africa there is a widespread belief in the evil eye, the casting of covetous glances from one person upon the belongings of another. Many items, particularly textiles, are given a decorative pattern to combat the evil eye. This cloak has a brightly-coloured 'eye' motif to protect the wearer. Adult Jewish men could wear this cloak provided the design faced inwards, thus denoting their different faith, though the belief in the protective power of the eye remained the same.

    C.J. Spring and J. Hudson, North African textiles (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)


  • Exhibition history


    1995, London, Museum of Mankind (Room 5), 'Display and Modesty'
    2011 Oct-Dec, London, Brunei Gallery, Weaving the Threads of Livelihood: the aesthetic & embodied knowledge of Berber weavers.

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    14 June 1995

    Treatment proposal

    Improve/redo repair/backing. Secure leather.


    1976 record: Black goat hair fabric very brittle and badly holed. Dirty and dusty, has been folded for a long time. 1995. There was a strong smell of acetic acid coming from the cloak. The couching had deteriorated and did not support the weak areas adequately. The leather had come away from its support. There was little evidence of rejoining along the front edge as stated in the previous conservation treatment and the front was no longer joined, leaving the leather loop in a very vulnerable position. The support fabric had been trimmed very close and the raw edge whipped which gave inadequate support to the leather. The fringing was pulling away in places and the support fabric had been trimmed back too much so that it could not be used to support the edge. The cotton hair cloth had been dyed brown which was rather unsightly in the large areas of loss. The hood had not been joined correctly along the top edge.

    Treatment details

    1976 record: Deteriorated areas reinforced with net on both sides. One section of leather binding undone to allow object to be flattened completely. Piece vacuum cleaned through monofilament screening and washed using Lissapol N based solution and deionised water. Leather binding treated with Bavon in P. ether. Cotton hair cloth was dyed a suitable shade and sewn to make a complete lining to which the cloak was attached by couching loose threads and tears as well as by short lengths of running stitches. Hood reformed by seaming edge of lining fabric at the top. Front of cloak rejoined. Treatment carried out by: M. McCord, L. Hillyer and C. Allington. 1995. The weak edges at the front of the cloak where the leather had pulled away were reinforced with 5cm wide black cotton tape which was attached behind the leather edging by cotton thread (Sylko no.369). The stiches were placed in original stitch holes at about a third of the original frequency. The tape was stitched to the lining using herringbone stitch in Gutterman Skala (polyester thread). The edge was then covered with 5cm wide silk crepeline ribbon, custom dyed with Lanaset dyes to match the cloak. All the couching had to be replaced. It was unpicked bit by bit and replaced likewise to minimise any movement of the fabric and backing. It was decided that to replace the backing fabric would be too damaging even though it was a poor colour and rather loosely woven to give an ideal support. It was noticable that the couching which lay along the warps had not lasted as well as that which was at right angles to the damage. This was probably due to the direction of pull when the garment was displayed. To start with the couching was replaced exactly as it had originally been done, even when this was not at right angles to the damage but this policy was revised as the work proceeded. All couching was done in Polyester thread (Gutterman Skala 000) for strength. Where the couching was in the same direction as the warp the couching was placed three warps apart. There was one area along the bottom edge where more support was necessary so 5cm wide black tape was placed behind the lining, extending to back the weak points. The loose threads and weave were secured to this support, which was attached by herringbone stitch to the original lining. The holes in the orange areas of weaving were backed with small patches of custom dyed (Lanaset dyes) wool nun's veiling and couched in the black polyester Skala. The hood was reformed closer to the original shape. 50mm wide silk Crepeline ribbon was dyed black with Lanaset dyes and used to bind the front edges of the cloak. Black cotton tape was attached behind the original joining length along both front edges, extending slightly above the original attachment point of the leather loop. The front edges were aligned and the two pieces of tape were joined with herringbone stitch to simulate the original join. The leather loop was reattached at the neck.

    About these records 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • Af1892C2.5773 (old CDMS no.)
COMPASS Image Caption: Whole view of cloak


COMPASS Image Caption: Whole view of cloak

Image description



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Object reference number: EAF14331

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