Early Weft Faced Ewe Kente

E991 -Fine early Ewe weft faced strip weave men’s cloth from Ghana/Togo, circa 1900.

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Description

Fine early Ewe weft faced strip weave men’s cloth from Ghana/Togo, circa 1900. Cloth is composed of 27 strips of 6 cm width (likely originally 28 strips).  Each strip is divided into square blocks by changing the colour in the weft, with 48 full blocks per strip, giving a total of 1297 squares, arranged across the cloth in a regular stepped pattern. In just seven of the squares there is a very small variation such as a white tapestry weave insert, a tiny weft float or similar. I have not seen this type of apparently random variation before and discussed it with Ewe textile expert Malika Kramer and she too had not previously seen it.  My feeling would be that it is just a quirk or play by the weaver, although some more arcane significance can not be ruled out. The general Ewe name for this type of weft faced textile is “titriku” which just means “thick cloth.”  See Venice Lamb, West African Weaving, (1975) page 181 for a photo of a man (at left of group) wearing a similar cloth. Condition – Very good. One old repair near centre of the cloth where two pieces from missing strip used to patch neatly a small damaged area. These rather rare cloths should not be confused with later and much more common Fulani tapi cloths from Mali that have a superficially similar layout.

Measures 101 inches x 62, 257 cm x 157.

 

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