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Textile (England)

This is a Textile. It is dated early 20th century and we acquired it in 1953. Its medium is cotton and its technique is printed by engraved roller. It is a part of the Textiles department.

This fabric, printed in Manchester, England for the African market, has a design which imitates the embroidered gowns worn by Hausa men in Nigera. The design of the embroideries is believed to have been influenced by men who learned the art of calligraphy from studying the Qur’an, and reflect an identification with Islam. They are also associated in their iconography with amuletic tunics worn by soldiers. This design features the protective “eight swords” motif, abstract interlacing patterns, and the tambari or king’s drum, a crossed circle inside a spiral.
The elaborately embroidered robes remain an important symbol of status and group identity. A printed fabric of this type would likely have been made into Western-style garments, such as men’s shirts.

This object was donated by Elizabeth Riefstahl. It is credited Gift of Elizabeth Riefstahl.

  • Square (Egypt)
  • warp: s-spun linen; wefts: s-spun linen, s-spun wool.
  • Gift of John Pierpont Morgan.
  • 1902-1-116

Its dimensions are

H x W: 83.8 x 81.9 cm (33 x 32 1/4 in.)

Cite this object as

Textile (England); cotton; H x W: 83.8 x 81.9 cm (33 x 32 1/4 in.); Gift of Elizabeth Riefstahl; 1953-90-14

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Textile (England) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=28 September 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>