A roll of thick handspun cotton cloth woven on a ground loom (swipe for photo) by a weaver of the Doayo people in north eastern Cameroon. Undyed white cotton and a pale blue achieved by immersing thread in boiled indigo leaves according to the Swiss author Rene Gardi who collected this piece. As well as being a rare item of ethnographic interest the roll of thick cloth is quite tactile and visually pleasing.
This cloth was not intended to be worn. Instead two strips were an essential part of the bridewealth paid by a young man and the cloth was accumulated in a family until required for the burial of an elder. Gardi witnessed the burial of a senior man who was interred in a sitting position wrapped with 27 of these strips. This is the first time I have seen cloth from the Doayo. Readers of a certain age may remember them as the protagonists of Nigel Barley’s now perhaps controversial travelogue “The Innocent Anthropologist.” The cloth measures 197 inches X 9, 500 cm X 23.
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