Rare African Kente 'Sika futuro' Gold Dust cloth mid 20th century. This fine prestige cloth is known as a 'gold dust cloth' with its yellow ground. At the begining of the 20th century these would be more likely to be silk but then later rayon. In terms of local prestige nobody paid any attention to the silk/rayon distinction. This was a highly prized item and still very much a master weavers work and hard to find. Very collectable and can be worn as a beautiful shawl.
Writing in the 1920s Rattray (Captain R. S. Rattray collected and recorded the names of several hundred Asante kente patterns. see his 1927 book "Religion and Art in Ashanti")
Rattray noted that “in former times” this pattern was worn only by the King of the Asante, but by the 1920 and 30s when this fine cloth was woven it was still a highly prestigious design chosen for wear by senior chiefs/wives on major occasions. Gold dust was used for currency in precolonial Asante. The yellow ground is also particularly effective in setting off the range of weft float motifs.
Condition: complete, very good, 2 very small holes, shown. 127 cms x 190cms. 13 strips
See page 40 of African Textiles - The Karun Thakar Collection Pub 2015 Hali Pub. (see photo of similar piece in the listing) A top class collection of textiles.
From Duncan Clarke - scholar and dealer of rare African textiles ''Some Asante kente was woven from cotton, a very few highly prized heirloom pieces are silk, but the majority are woven of rayon, which was adopted by Asante weavers as a substitute for silk soon after it became commercially available, at least by the 1930s/40s.''
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