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Between and Mortarboard


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Blanket (khasa)

Accession Number
1984/1.267.1

Title
Blanket (khasa)

Artist(s)
Fulani

Artist Nationality
Fulbe

Object Creation Date
circa 1920

Medium & Support
woven wool

Dimensions
90 9/16 in x 53 9/16 in x 4 3/10 in (230.03 cm x 136.05 cm x 10.95 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Prof. and Mrs. Horace M. Miner

Label copy
Fall 2017 Gallery Rotation Label (written for 1984/1.267.2, the other blanket in this pair)

This textile, a densely-woven blanket made from hand-spun sheep’s wool, is known across West Africa as a khasa. Such textiles were first recorded in the twelfth century by Arab visitors to the region. Today they are still made by the Fulani, a group of nomadic peoples who migrate across several nations in West Africa, regularly crossing the Sahel and Sahara deserts.
 
These blankets serve both practical and symbolic purposes, functioning equally as protection from the elements, as spatial dividers in dwellings, and as prestigious gifts for wedding and funerary ceremonies. The intricacy of the design woven into a blanket largely determined its value: the least expensive blankets were plain white, while more valued textiles were elaborately decorated with colors, shapes, and lines. Some researchers have suggested that the geometric motifs depict dwellings, hilltops, and routes and therefore act as abstract representations of the natural environment the Fulani traverse.

Primary Object Classification
Textile

Primary Object Type
quilt

Collection Area
African

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
Fulani (language)
blankets (coverings)
wool

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted