tribaltextiles.info

It is currently Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:29 pm

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: QUESTION ON TAPISTRY
PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 10:18 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:42 pm
Posts: 2
Hello All,
Just wondering if anyone knows where this item may have come from and what it's use may have been, (tablecloth)? Cloth has a wool (army blanket) feel only thinner. The thread is gold, am wondering if it's real gold it has a metallic feel to the touch. The item is very large and all handstitched. The back side shows all the individual stitches, countless hours of work. The item has been in the family for many years and is reported to have come from the Kafir Women (tribal, Africa??) but I am not sure. Any info would be much appreciated. I can submit additional photos if anyone can help. Thanks, Jessica :?


Attachments:
cloth_002_134w.jpg
cloth_002_134w.jpg [ 82.13 KiB | Viewed 7336 times ]
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: "Kafir"
PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 2:15 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2003 4:52 am
Posts: 162
Location: California, USA
Hi Jessica,

From what I could tell by the photo, this textile would be in the tradition of European embroidery, late 19th century to early or mid-2oth century. Thus, it could be from anywhere one would find a European colony, or of course, in Europe itself. I have no idea which European tradition its design represents.

A note about "kafir". This term was used in the most derogatory sense by the Boers (European settlers in southern Africa, of Dutch descent) toward blacks, especially black women. Its initial gloss was "non-believer", and came from the Muslim word. but it quickly came to be used as a general term for any natives of Africa.

I doubt it was made by a black woman, or for that matter a "Cape Town Colored". It was probably embroidered by a Boer woman, whose Kafir" servants made her life very luxurious, and giving her lots of free time.

Sandie

_________________
Sandie


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Thanks Sandie
PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 4:33 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:42 pm
Posts: 2
Your information was very helpful, how ironic that such language and attitude was passed down and carried on through generations that had no idea of it's origin or meaning. I will take note and exception! I am still wondering if the thread would have been real gold?
Best Regards,
Jessica :oops:


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 9:24 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 1989
Location: Canterbury, UK
The apparent lack of any tarnishing of the gold thread as shown in the photo might suggest that the thread could be real gold. If it originated in S Africa then gold would have been easily locally available (at a price). Certainly there has been a solid tradition of using real gold thread in embroidery (and woven textiles).

I agree with Sandie that the embroidery is so much in a European tradition of embroidery that it is very difficult to identify the origin. Nice to see a piece in such good condition and the linguistic overtones give it a particular twist and pointer to its identity! It is easy to slip on the banana skin of these. My mother is particuarly upset by the change in the meaning these days of the word 'gay' which had a such a light hearted and non sexual meaning in her younger years.

_________________
Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Query South African
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 2:01 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:30 am
Posts: 315
I do realise this response is a little delayed. Looking at the small section of this piece available I have some doubts as to the appellation 'Afrikaner' for this piece. Firstly the colour use of purple and gold is something that I do not recall ever seeing in their everday repetoire. There is this colour combination on textiles used for religious purposes - however the embroidery is extemely restrained (perhaps reflecting Calvinistic traditions) and this pece would be way over the top for use in any Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (Dutch Reformed Church). Furthermore the frayed braid edging that may be seen as an internal border is not something commonly used in the textiles/embroidery of Afrikaner women.
As to the possible origin I agree with Sandra that this may have been made for or influenced by European traditions and this would make a definite origin almost impossible to determine. The following elaborates: I have a couple of pieces from East Africa which use this type of braid and colour combination. This may explain my intial feeling that this may be a piece made in the previous East African colonies of Kenya, Tanganyika and Uganda. Here there was a large influence from workers from both India and the Middle East particularly Oman. That said, I also have a table covering purchased by my grandfather whilst on service during WWII in the Western Desert and a second commercially produced piece originating from Egypt which bear similarities! All of these areas could easily be given the racist appellation of "kaffir" bearing testimony to it's African origins and its collection and use by non-Africans.
As to the metal composition: It could be metallic gold thread but it also possible that it is a form of 'Dutch metal' (an alloy of copper and zinc). If I recall correctly this alloy is roughly 85% copper and 15% zinc and is rather resistant to tarnishing and resembles gold. It is however more commony used as a gold leaf substitute. Would it be possible to see a fuller picture?
Regarding the comment on degrogatory terms: the term 'Boer' meaning 'farmer' was in the past used by Afrikaans speaking people to refer to themselves. However, it has been repeatedly used in a derogatory term by English mother tongue users in South Africa and more recently as a discriminatory term by black South Africans. Perhaps the most infamous use of the term 'Boer' was put into use by the African National Congress as "Kill the Boer, kill the farmer". During the apartheid era in South Africa the police were called "Boers" adding further depth to the negative and racist connotations that this word has acquired. Most Afrikaans speaking people will refer to themselves now as 'Afrikaners' which simply means 'African' in Afrikaans and possibly reflects the best desire to identify themselves as belonging to Africa.
Regards
Iain


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 1:26 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2003 4:52 am
Posts: 162
Location: California, USA
Hi,

I was very interested in your comments concerning this textile. Of course, it may be from anywhere in Africa. I think I was connecting the cloth with the term"kaffir" which is a word normally found in Southern Africa.

Could it be from North Africa? Of French origin?

Thank you for opening up this textile to further debate.


Your comment on "BOER" is yet another example of the power of words, and the meaning of words to be extended outside their initial meaning.


Sandie

_________________
Sandie


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 11:21 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 7:22 am
Posts: 65
Location: germany
Just to throw in my tupence worth:
The dark red fabric could well be British uniform cloth, which was used in a similar manner as the foundation for embroidery in India and other colonies, also in Iran. The woolen cloth is fulled (felted) so well that it doesn't ravel, as can be seen at one place in the upper right corner. I have seen military bandsmen's jackets in England in similar material, that weren't seamed around the bottom, because it was unncessary.

Larry


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 4:22 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2006 3:18 am
Posts: 53
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Dear Jessica,

Thank you so much for sharing with us. I've learnt so much from this post you've started.

I'm afraid I can't add much more info on this fine piece, but it is interesting to note that here in the Malay World, people used to employ felt as their base material for embroidery as well. Velvet is also a very popular fabric for embroidery and both of these were of course imported from Europe.

PS: Being a Muslim, I can definitely confirm that "kafir" is a derogatory term.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group