- Museum number
Marriage wall-hanging "Tapi carreaux." Rectangular wall-hanging made of fourty-five (45) hand plain woven dyed cotton narrow strips hand-sewn together selvedge-to-selvedge.
The decoration is organised in transverse plain-weave bands with continuous weft-faced arrangement. All the sides of the piece are bordered with two bands of small alternating black and white squares.
In the central part is a square area delimitated by green, gold and red bands made of small squares. Inside that space is a group of five alternating geometrical figures made of arrangements of small squares of different colours, including two orange and green chessboard squares surrounded by a black frame, two blue with red centre red lozenges surrounded by a white frame, and one orange with blue centre lozenge surrounded by a white frame. The white small squares are decorated inside with geometrical compositions of black lozenges and made in supplementary weft technique.
On both sides of the central square is another square area, twice as big as the central space, also delimitated by green, gold and red bands made of small squares. Inside each space is a group of ten alternating geometrical figures made of arrangements of small squares of different colours, in the same style as the central group. These include five orange and green chessboard squares surrounded by a black frame, four blue with red centre red lozenges surrounded by a white frame, and one orange with blue centre lozenge surrounded by a white frame. The white small squares are decorated inside with geometrical compositions of black lozenges and made in supplementary weft technique.
The strips end in loose warp threads.
- Production date
- 20thC (Around 1970)
Length: 340 centimetres (including fringe)
Width: 225 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- This piece called “tapi” is used as a decorative wall-hanging or to be folded and placed in a pile with other woven pieces to decorate the bed. The model belongs to the new genre of coloured wall hangings which appeared in the early 1960s in the enthusiasm generated by the freshly obtained independence of Mali and by the celebration of the new nation (and of belonging to that nation), first of all as part of the Federation du Mali (together with Senegal) and later as a separate Republic of Mali. The predominance of the colours of the Malian flag (green, gold and red) is the colourful expression of that vibrant enthusiasm visible in the various different models of the new weavings created by the "Maabube". Maabube (sing. maabo) are an artisan cast in the social system of the Central Delta Fulbe-speaking people. Weaving is one of their main specialties. The weaver drew also on some of the ancient patterns of cotton weaving. These include the use of weft-faced arrangement of the motifs and the inclusion of some old motifs drawn from wool weaving, all combined with new colours and warp-faced arrangement in a complex structure. The creation of that new genre reflected also the fact that innovation and reaction to change - through the creation of new models with new names - had always been one the historical features of the maabube weaving.
The new beautiful wall hangings immediately became very popular and they were adopted as part of the brides' trousseau in the Inland Delta, in addition to and with the time competing with, the classic woollen bed-screens “arkilla kerka”. They also gained popularity in major urban centres such as Bamako and Segu. One of the factors of their success was that they were made of industrial cotton threads which were easier to procure than wool, and therefore accessible to more people.
The piece was woven by a "maabo" (weaver) in a small town called Fatoma, in the Central Delta of the Niger River. It was woven on a double-heddle narrow strip loom. The strips are much narrower than in other classical Inland Delta weavings. 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 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.
An important feature which developed in these new designs was the combination of squares of different colours to form larger geometrical figures, with a distinctive combination for each specific design, and the use of some of the ancient patterns of wool and cotton weaving - here drawn from the motif "sukafijiray" - in quite a complex structure.
- Not on display
- 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