Beyond its use as a shoulder wrap, tailored handwoven silk fashions are increasingly popular among the inhabitants of Madagascar's capital Antananarivo. Because of its luxuriousness and high price, these items are usually reserved for formal events. Fashionable dinner parties today see men in tailored vests and ties and women in dresses--all of hand woven silk. Silk is especially popular for urban weddings, used for the bride's gown, but also for cloths that ceremonially wrap the couple, and for the ring bearer's pillow and the small handbag used by the bride to collect the couple's monetary gifts.
Weavers in the capital continue to produce new products for local clients, including hand woven cloths designed to accent televisions and coffee tables. The growth in tourism finds yet another market for locally-woven vests, neck ties, scarves and other accessories.
This particular silk tie was woven in the traditional striping pattern known as arindrano, which is typically used in shrouds, making it a fine example of the continuity and popularity of traditional motifs in contemporary styles.
Man's silk tie distinguished by bold black stripes and narrower stripes of tan, orange, green and white, with a loose "slip knot" of the same pattern attached. There is a white braided loop at the lower rear edge of the tie.
Acquired from Maison Rakotomalala et fils, Madagascar, 2000
Gifts and Blessings: The Textile Arts of Madagascar Malagasy, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, April 14-September 2, 2002