Collections | National Museum of African Art

Top Menu

Switch View
Wrapper  (Maama kesi, Mmaban)
Date: Before 1971
Medium: Cotton, silk, indigo dye, synthetic dye
Dimensions: H x W: 132 x 78.7 cm (51 15/16 x 31 in.)
Credit Line: National Museum of African Art, National Museum of Natural History, purchased with funds provided by the Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, 1983-85, EJ10553
Geography: Bonwire, Ghana
Object Number: EJ10553
Search Terms:
Male use
geometric motif
Object is not currently on exhibit

This man's wrapper is handsewn of nine strips in geometric and striped motif with six different warp stripes. In West Africa, cloth is made of wool, cotton or silk, or combinations of these materials. Woven on narrow strip looms, they are then hand or machine-sewn together to create large wrappers, cloths or blankets with patterns dyed or woven into the fabric. The composition of this cloth is a radical departure from the balanced warp and weft designs seen in the other Asante cotton textiles. The weft-band blocks are greatly expanded on the strips, a style that probably began in the early eighteenth century (McLeod 155). The dark background recedes, dominated by the scattered, brightly colored embellishments. The yellow silk supplementary weft threads in this cloth were probably unraveled from an imported cloth. The threads show crimping, evidence of their previous structure. In addition, some spots along the threads have less dye, a further hint that the silk was dyed after it had been woven into the original cloth. McLeod, Malcolm D. 1981. The Asante. London: British Museum Publications.

Wrapper composed of nine panels, handsewn at the selvedges on a dark background with scattered, brightly colored embellishment designs in red, yellow, tan, white, black and light blue rectangular blocks.

Venice and Alastair Lamb, England, purchased in Bonwire, Ghana, 1971 to 1985

Wrapped in Pride: Ghanaian Kente and African American Identity, Newark Museum, September 15, 1998-January 3, 1999; National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., September 12, 1999-January 2, 2000; Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, May 13-July 30, 2000; Anchorage Museum of History and Art, November 19, 2000-February 25, 2001; Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, April 14-July 15, 2001; Oakland Museum of California, October 13, 2001-January 15, 2002; Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University, Atlanta, February 23-June 16, 2002

Patterns of Life: West African Strip-Weaving Traditions, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., September 28, 1987-February 29, 1988

Gilfoy, Peggy. 1987. Patterns of Life: West African Strip Weaving Traditions. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, p. 77, no. 26.

Ross, Doran H. 1998. Wrapped in Pride. Los Angeles: Fowler Museum of Cultural History, University of California, p. 295, no. 5.

My Collections




* required field.

Create New Collection


Edit Collection