Woman's shawl (lamba akotifahana) - ROM2013_13200_14


Woman's shawl (lamba akotifahana)

Medium:Brocaded silk tabby
Geography: Imerina, Madagascar
Date: c. 1880
282 x 72.2 cm
Object number: 2012.20.18
Credit Line: This acquisition was made possible with the generous support of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust.
Not on view

Akotifahana shawl (saly) consisting of a single panel of woven fabric. Reeled bombyx silk of natural white with stripes, supplementary brocading weft designs and warp floats in pink, yellow, light blue, black and green. All natural dyes. Along one selvage, a wide white stripe with supplementary weft designs of arched leaf-like forms topped by 3 checked lozenges, alternated with pairs of large concentric lozenges. Flanked by narrow stripes with warp floats of geometric motifs. At center of cloth, a stripe with white-on-white supplementary weft designs in the form of stacked arched leaf-like shapes. Towards the other selvage, a 2nd stripe of white-on-white supplementary wefts in the form of large concentric lozenges alternated with group of 5 lozenges. Separating the 2 white-on-white columns are 2 narrow stripes with light blue warp floats.

This may be the "saly kotofahana" ("brocaded shawl") that is mentioned in the journals of Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony as having been given out as gifts.

Dye analysis on thread samples of the piece carried out by the Canadian Conservation Institute of Ottawa in 2013 determined that all the colours were natural; the reds and browns being composed of safflower, with many of the blues based on Prussian blue.

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