Sunday, 11 January 2015

Pre Columbian - and West African - Textiles (An Update)

It is always good to receive comments from fellow-bloggers about my posts. They are always unfailingly positive and helpful.

Yesterday's from Olga Norris was no exception and it especially intrigued me. She said that the shapes in the piece of stitch I showed in my last post reminded her of Pre Columbian textiles. This had me scurrying round searching out pictures from the internet for comparison.

I found a multitude of images all beautiful - here on google and I include two images here that seem to me to be particularly relevant. However, as can be seen from the comment below, I chose samples of Kuba textiles from central Africa, despite being shown amongst a selection supposedly from central and South America. Just shows how little you can trust Google ... and how little I know! Thank you Olga for putting me right.

This one to above has the same contrasting lozenges of black and the line - though more definite than in my piece - was similarly distorted and full of near-repeats to catch the eye.

There was also this below, in which, although the shapes and pattern are much more regular than in my piece and the colour is different, there is the same thought of a central lozenge of colour contained within another and then another.

All fascinating ... and even more so when I considered things further. I have a cushion on the chair by my computer that I bought in South Africa a few years ago. It looks like this ...

... extraordinary ... is there nothing new under the sun?

I obviously can't credit the weavers who made these textiles, on whichever continent and in whatever age, and I can't even credit the photographers of the first two as no information is given on Google. However, I can credit Julie Booth who supplied the fabric for my piece and, of course Olga Norris, who gives so generously of her knowledge over on her blog here.

As an aside to this post, those who live in the UK may be fascinated by the current short series of programmes about the Incas on BBC 4. The programmes are being aired on a Thursday evening at 8 pm but can of course be seen and downloaded on iplayer. Judging from the first last week they are well worth a look. There were some beautiful and unforgettable images and a fascinating insight into an extraordinary civilization.


  1. Margaret, thank you for the credit. The top and bottom photos in this post by the way are Kuba textiles made by the Shoowa people from around the Congo area of west Africa. If you google Kuba fabric you will see lots of fabulous patterns.

    I have not seen the BBC4 programmes I'm afraid. Something I must look into on iplayer perhaps. Thanks for pointing them out.

    1. Thank you, Olga, for correcting me here. I must say, I did wonder about the link to Pre Columbian textiles when I saw the similarity to my own cushion which I was pretty sure was African. Still, now I know what I own ... and there is still more to seek out and investigate!

  2. Thanks for giving me a "shout-out" once again. I'm really looking forward to seeing your progress on the piece.

    1. This little experimental piece is now almost finished so now I have to think where to go next ...


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