Not currently on display at the V&A

Textile
mid 20th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Narrow strip woven cloth is worn by both men and women in Ghana. Once the strip is complete it is cut into pieces and sewn together edge to edge. The way the patterns line up once it has been cut is testament to the skill of the weaver. This is an example of Ewe weaving; the Ewe people come from the South Eastern part of Ghana’s Volta region. The cloth is made up of 19 strips which are each about 10cm wide and 280cm long. The size of this cloth makes it likely that it was intended as a man’s wrapper.

Ewe cloth differs from other Ghanaian weaving traditions, such as Asante, because figurative designs are included in the patterns. These patterns often relate to proverbs which are an important part of Ewe culture. This cloth has a pattern of leaves which relates to the proverb ‘I will not survive if I am plucked from the tree’.

This cloth was bequeathed to the museum by Mary Kirby, a weaver herself, she also taught weaving. She collected textiles from around the world and used them as teaching aids.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Hand-woven cotton
Brief Description
Strip-woven cotton, Ghana, mid 20th century
Physical Description
Textile made up of 19 lengths of strip woven cotton each approximately 10cm wide. A portion of the centre has supplementary weft float patterns depicting leaves.
Dimensions
  • Width: 283cm (maximum) (Note: Measured by conservation)
  • Height: 200cm (Maximum) (Note: Measured by conservation)
Gallery Label
Narrow strip-woven cloth Ewe Ghana About 1950 This strip-woven cloth was bought by teacher Mary Kirby while she was working at the Kumasi School of Technology in Ghana during the 1950s. Kirby was a keen visitor to the V&A, bringing students from the Central School to view the textile collection. After her death, her mother gave her collection of textiles to the Museum. They were part of a Circulation Department exhibition that travelled to art and design colleges. Cotton, strip-woven Given by Mrs S.W. Kirby in memory of Miss Mary Kirby Museum no. Circ.321-1964 (17/11/02-03/02/13)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Miss Mary Kirby
Object history
Displayed in "V and A Africa: Exploring Hidden Histories"

15th November 2012- 3rd February 2013
Associations
Summary
Narrow strip woven cloth is worn by both men and women in Ghana. Once the strip is complete it is cut into pieces and sewn together edge to edge. The way the patterns line up once it has been cut is testament to the skill of the weaver. This is an example of Ewe weaving; the Ewe people come from the South Eastern part of Ghana’s Volta region. The cloth is made up of 19 strips which are each about 10cm wide and 280cm long. The size of this cloth makes it likely that it was intended as a man’s wrapper.



Ewe cloth differs from other Ghanaian weaving traditions, such as Asante, because figurative designs are included in the patterns. These patterns often relate to proverbs which are an important part of Ewe culture. This cloth has a pattern of leaves which relates to the proverb ‘I will not survive if I am plucked from the tree’.



This cloth was bequeathed to the museum by Mary Kirby, a weaver herself, she also taught weaving. She collected textiles from around the world and used them as teaching aids.

Collection
Accession Number
CIRC.321-1964

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record createdJuly 30, 2008
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