Explore how the Dutch company Vlisco became one of the most influential textile brands in West and Central African fashion and a design inspiration around the world. Known for its bold and colorful patterns, Vlisco creates fabrics that marry tradition with luxury. This exhibition highlights the company's classic and new designs, follows the creation of a textile, and showcases a selection of contemporary fashions by African and European makers as well as Vlisco's in-house design team.
This exhibit focuses on the time-honored techniques used to create patterns in Central and West African textiles. Among the examples on view are complex strip-woven kente cloths made by the Asante and Ewe of Ghana, an impressive resist-dyed display textile (or ndop) from Cameroon, and raffia skirts that the Kuba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo create using piecing, appliqué, and embroidery.
This exhibition, which draws from the Penn Museum's esteemed African collections, showcases works created in West and Central Africa from the 1500's to the early 1900's. It includes carved ivories and bronzes from the kingdom of Benin, Akan gold weights, Kongo power figures, Kuba textiles and vessels, Kota reliquary figures, and more.