Bamileke display cloth, Cameroon

Hand-spun cotton

144 7/8 x 52 in. (368 x 132 cm)


About this object

In the 19th century, in the Grassfield kingdoms of Cameroon, cloths such as this one were associated with royalty. They were made in northern Nigeria by Hausa artisans until about 1910 when a Grassfields king decided they could be produced locally and designated the Bamum people of Cameroon to take over their production.

The cloth’s distinctive pattern is created by stitching a resist pattern with raffia and dying it in indigo. The cloths are displayed on state occasions.