Textile length: Asaasaawa print - 2006.21.13_4_doc20190812_IMG9501


Textile length: Asaasaawa print

Maker: HW Wax
Medium:Cotton tabby, roller-printed synthetic dyes
Geography: Ghana
Date: c. 2005
370 × 115.5 cm
Object number: 2006.21.13
Credit Line: This acquisition was made possible by the generous support of the ROM Reproductions Acquisitions Fund.
On view
Gallery Location:The Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles & Costume

Length of factory-printed cotton in the imitation patchwork design. In Africa, the great love for boldly-coloured factory-printed cottons grew — directly or indirectly— from Indian chintz. In East Africa, women first dressed in printed cottons imported from India. From 1875, they switched to factory-printed imitations that integrated their own design specifications. In West Africa, consumers preferred India’s striped fabrics over chintz. But after 1900 they came to adore cloth factory-printed with the designs of Javanese batik, itself inspired by Indian chintz. Today, factories in Europe, Africa, and Asia still fiercely compete to capture these important markets by appealing to local sensibilities and fashions.

A man's cloth (worn as draped toga) requires 10-11 yards, leaving 2 yards left over that he is commonly obliged to buy. The 2 yard excess he gives to his wife. When she has 3 pieces or 6 yards she has enough to assemble to make a wearable cloth. This cloth of assembled pieces, a patchwork, is called Asaasaawa (in Tre) or Asaasaaba (in Fante). This is a true patchwork. The factories also print cloths that are in an Asaasaawa style, which incorporate multiple patterns.

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