- Museum number
Marriage bed-screen, Hand-woven tapestry type piece. The piece is rectangular and composed of seven narrow strips hand-sewn together selvedge to selvedge. Warp and weft are made of industrial white and coloured cotton threads.
The piece is executed in plain-weaving with the motifs made in supplementary weft work. The threads at the ends of the strips are twisted and knotted to form tassels.
The decoration is organised in white and coloured bands with transverse continued weft-faced arrangement. Three bands have lozenge-shaped motifs. In the centre of the piece is a saffron-yellow background band with a motif in the form of a lozenge made of a series of red, black and white oval figures. On both borders of the saffron-yellow band is a multicoloured band with black and white lozenges and saffron-yellow and red half-lozenges made in supplementary weft work.
On both sides between the central band and the end of the piece is a red band with a motif in the form of a lozenge prolonged by two bars. On both borders of the red bands is a multicoloured band made of saffron-yellow, light-green, black, red and white lozenges made in supplementary weft work.
Between the bands with the lozenge-shaped motifs and between them and the ends of the piece are alternating black, white, saffron-yellow, red and light-green bands, and a blue bands, some of which are decorated with black, saffron-yellow, red and light-green oval figures.
- Production date
Length: 305 centimetres (including fringe)
Width: 154.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- This cotton bed-screen had been identified as a variation of the "Arkilla Kunta" which is used by the Songhay people of Northern Mali. This nice-quality piece was produced in the 1960s and was possibly made in the Gao region. While the classic arkilla Kunta used by the Berber Kunta is made of sheep wool, this one is made of cotton threads. The bed-screen is part of the bride's equipment and is used as a screen suspended along and over the alcove / bed.
The "lozenge-and-bars" motif in the red bands is the "almaaje" motif. The supplementary weft-work multicoloured band on both borders of the central saffron-yellow band is the "obalaaje" motif. The supplementary weft-work multicoloured band on both borders of the red bands is the "pedeli" (fingers in Fulfulde) motif. All the motifs as well as the high quality of the supplementary weft-work are classic features of the Inland Delta wool-weaving by the maabube weavers (specialised weavers cast in the Mali Inland Delta Fulbe society).
The piece was woven by a male weaver Maale. The Maale form a specialised cast of artisans in the Songhay society. The whole textile is woven on a double-heddle narrow strip loomfrom one continuous warp strip. Each strip is designed in order to match with the strips next to it in order to form the overall design. The weaver plans in advance the designs of each strip according to the desired overall design and length. The motifs are formed by the combinations of coloured squares made of different colours of weft threads and by supplementary weft-work. During the weaving process a short length of un-worked warp threads is left between the edges of the adjacent strips to mark the intervals. After the weaving the strips will be separated by cutting the woven piece in the un-worked intervals, and then they will be assembled together by sewing them selvedge to selvedge.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Purchased in London from Mr Hervé Derrien.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number