Asante Adinkra Unstamped Handwoven Textile Ghana 121x93 inch
A wonderful Asante stamped cotton fabric identified as Adinkra cloth. Adinkra cloth is made out of cotton and decorated with stamps carved from gourds or calabashes. Both the background color and the symbols reflect the values of Akan society. See an excellent explanation and examples in "AFRICAN TEXTILES AND DECORATIVE ARTS," by Roy Sieber. The stamps are carved from a calabash/gourd so that the design stands out in relief. Cloth stampers will dip the stamp into a small clay bowl with the dye and stamp the cloth which is laid out on the ground pegged at corners to keep it straight and flat. The dye is made from a water-soluble dye that is made locally from bark that comes down from the north. Men stamp and weave the cloth and sew it together while women control the making and selling of the dye, sell the cloth to the stampers, then sell the cloth in the market or to family groups. Each stamp is identified with a proverb, popular saying, or dictum. Tradition has it that there were only about 60 different stamps, but old books and scholars have concluded there are many more.
We do not recommend laundering textiles and do not accept returns of textiles that have been laundered in any manner. Even dry cleaning is too much for some of these antique textiles. For some of them, a very gentle HAND washing (NEVER MACHINE, on any setting) in cool water with a very gentle detergent works, but even then, dyes may not be colorfast, and fabric may be less strong than it appears.