Saturday, May 18, 2024

Great presentation on ndop cloth of Africa, special post

 The Hajii Baba club brought Dr. Janet Purdy on  Saturday to speak online on the indigo resist-dyed cotton cloth of Cameroon,West Africa, known as ndop. It's a ceremonial cloth with royal privilege. There are many ancient kingdoms in Africa, the ruler of each  known as the Fon. He determines who can wear this cloth and when and in what form.

They're woven in very narrow strips by men, then stitched together,  with patterns drawn on by men and stitched in with raffia by women. They are  then indigo dyed, the raffia acting as the resist. 

These cloths can be enormous.  They serve as ceremonial backdrops as well as clothing. There are traditional designs, including shapes used as protective images, going back centuries.

The slides have enough information to follow largely without my commentary. Here goes.




some of the modern equipment used to determine how best to curate rare cloth, how much exposure to light is safe.


This is a Fon who placed his Kingdom under the protection of German power, dressed in German uniform with his assistant literally attached to the ceremonial ndop cloth .





















There are several books on this topic, which an interested reader can track down, but this is an overview of these cultural and historical treasured artefacts. Dr Purdy brought brief and accessible information to this textile enthusiast who isn't a scholar, very much appreciated.


20 comments:

  1. Beautiful cloth. Some of it has an almost batik look.

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    1. Yes, batik is a related resist method, except with wax rather than raffia.

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    1. Amazing artwork in West Africa, we should know more.

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  3. Wow. Beautiful designs
    I love learning about the history and cultural significance of the artwork

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    1. I was happy about this presentation, same reason.

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  4. Most interesting post. Ndop has the same significance as purple in historical times.

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    1. Yes, the royal rights and the symbol of power, quite true.

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  5. Once again, I am amazed at how textile art, although so different around the world, can represent so many familiar themes.

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    1. There seem to be a few recurring human ideas. The more you research, the more this seems to be true.

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  6. I enjoy the fact that everyday I learn something new here. This is really interesting.

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    1. No pressure there ;) I really like the lectures Hajii Baba present, very well organized and captioned slides, and always good for a non academic audience. One of the great things that came out of the pandemic and they're continuing online as well inperson events.

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  7. Thanks for all the work you put into this 'special edition', Boud. It's my first introduction to ndop textiles. Fascinating.

    Chris from Boise

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    1. Mine too. Aren't they amazing? The textiles of the African continent are artworks.

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  8. Very interesting to see. Fascinating, too, to read about the division of the workload between men and women.

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    1. It seems pretty evenly divided, interestingly.

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  9. Good selection of photos. Cultural textiles are so fascinating to me. When people travel they often focus on sharing cuisine and architecture, but textiles and costume are just as interesting, I think. And inspiring.

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    1. That's a good point. It seems to be more specialized, to understand textiles.

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Thanks so much for commenting. I really appreciate your taking the time, and taking part. Please read the comments and see if your question is already answered!