A small selection from the large number of Asante kente cloths collected by the late Dr Brigitte Menzel are now online on the website of the Ethnological Museum, Berlin. Menzel’s field research on Asante weaving in the 1960s, sadly largely unpublished, remains the only in depth investigation of the tradition, and she was able to collect a group of cloths of unrivalled quality. Most of these are in the Berlin Museum where she worked for many years (others are in the Textilmuseum, Krefeld, and the Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde, Leiden.) Small black and white images of these cloths and many others are published in Menzel’s three volume catalogue Textilien aus WestAfrika (Berlin 1972).
Thursday, 31 October 2013
Saturday, 26 October 2013
One of the issues with African textiles that interests me is developing an understanding of the range of design possibilities within each tradition and promoting an appreciation of the way in which weavers have explored and expanded those possibilities and parameters. Increased aesthetic appreciation can then be combined where possible with information about dates and places of origin. Looking at cloths is one of the most important ways of appreciating these issues and the increasing accessibility of museum collections online has opened up new horizons, even if the issues raised can pose as many questions as they offer answers. This month I have begun a project using my Pinterest page to bring together images of cloths that I consider to be early, exceptional, important, distinctive or in other ways of interest. Cloths are drawn from museum collections, images published or online, our own archive etcetera. I will be adding others to this group, expanding the Asante kente group, and starting new collections over the coming months.