K321 – Remarkably finely woven cloth from the golden age of Asante kente weaving in the late nineteenth century, this fabulous version of the complex ‘liar’s cloth’ pattern, nkontompo ntama, has serious condition issues but is nevertheless an important and beautiful piece. The name ‘liar’s cloth’ refers to the three narrow white threads that appear to cross back and forth across the dark blue cotton background of each strip, a bravura exercise in the skill of a master weaver and unique to the kente cloth tradition. Rattray (1929) noted that “The King of Ashanti is said to have worn this pattern when holding court, to confute persons of doubtful veracity who came before him.” Over the top of this cotton ground the weaver has woven a regular array of silk pattern blocks made up of three weft faced bands framing two sets of geometric extra weft float motifs. A row of square motifs separate this central field from the more densely patterned borders at either end. It’s interesting to compare this cloth to the equally wonderful example in a similar palette but with double rather than triple pattern blocks that we collected a decade or so ago and is now in the Metropolitan Museum online here. As already mentioned this lovely cloth has some serious condition issues: although 24 strips wide this cloth originally had 26 or 28 strips and the remainder have been removed and used to replace damaged parts, also the silk has worn away in numerous small areas. The price is lower than it would otherwise be to reflect these concerns. Dates from circa 1900.
Measurement: 123 ins x 65, 312 cm x 165.
All items on this site are vintage. That means that they may have a few small marks or blemishes consistent with use. We will try to highlight any significant issues in the description above but in the event you are not happy with your purchase please notify us within 48 hours of receipt and you may return it for a full refund (excluding return shipping costs.)