- Museum number
Bed-screen "Arkilla Munga." Tapestry type piece used by the Songhay. Made of ten hand-woven narrow strips made of locally produced sheep wool dyed the required colours and locally spun cotton threads. The strips are hand-sewn together selvedge to selvedge. The decoration is organised in coloured bands with continuous transverse weft-faced arrangement. It displays three similar decorative sections composed of a central natural coloured woolen band on both sides of which are alternating parallel black, red, orange, and blue narrow bands, and a natural colour band with black geometrical ornament. Between these three decorative sections are alternating black, red, orange bands, and a blue band with natural wool coloured geometrical ornament. From the two lateral decorative sections towards the ends of the piece are alternating black, red, blue, and orange bands, and blue bands with natural colour geometrical ornament. At both ends are two white bands separated by alternating narrow blue, red and orange bands.
- Production date
Length: 308 centimetres (including fringe)
Width: 224.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- The wool marriage bed-screens arkilla munga are one of the types in the broad category of the marriage bed-screens generically called "arkilla" woven in the Inland Delta of the Niger River in Mali. The arkilla munga are used by the Songhay people and found mostly in the District of Goundam, on the shore of Lake Faguibin. These wool and cotton bed-screens are suspended along and over the alcove / bed. They are prestigious and important components of the bride’s trousseau in the Songhay society.
They are woven by male weavers Maale (or Maabe) who form a specialised cast of weavers in the Songhay society. The piece is woven on a double-heddle narrow strip loom of a particular type used for wool weaving. The whole textile is woven from 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 various different colours of weft threads and types of 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.
The arkilla munga is composed of ten strips sewn together, each strip measuring from 25 to 30 cm width. The strips are woven either entirely form wool threads or from wool and cotton threads. In this case locally spun cotton threads were used for the warp and locally spun sheep wool was used for the weft.
As for other arkilla kerka of the Fulbe, it is the mother who is responsible for providing this important component of her daughter's marriage trousseau. It is her responsibility to purchase the necessary quantity of wool and cotton threads, to commission the weaving and take care of the weaver during the weaving process.
- Not on display
- Very good
- Acquisition date
- 2006 (22 November)
- Acquisition notes
- Purchased during a fieldwork and collecting trip to Mali by Dr Claude Ardouin (Dept of AOA) from 10-25 November 2006. Purchased from funds provided by Townley Group.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number