Tent Hanging

Accession Number

Tent Hanging


Artist Nationality

Object Creation Date
circa 1920

Medium & Support
woven wool

192 1/8 in x 5 1/2 in (488 cm x 14 cm)

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

Label copy
This kelim type blanket is from Goundam, near Timbuktu, Mali.
cf. 1984/1.267.1 and 2
This piece was collected together with two blankets in the region around Timbuktu in 1940. Its dimensions are much bigger than those of the other two pieces, which might account for its difference in use (tent hanging versus blankets). In fact, according to Imperato, Fulani refer to all blankets and covers with the same word, sudumare, which means 'house', and it might be that the distinction between our categories of "blanket" and "cover" doesn't correspond to any pertinent distinction from the Fulani point of view.
Blankets/covers can be used as enclosures around beds, draped over doorways or suspended from the edges of tents to alter air currents and provide shade. The can also be an element of dress in various ways.

The weaving of wool blankets appears to have a long history in the region around Timbuktu. The German explorer Heinrich Barth noted that there was, at the time of his visit in 1853-4, almost no weaving done in Timbuctu itself, but that quite a number of blankets and carpets were being produced in the surrounding district (such as Goundam).
The black-and-white "checkerboard" pattern of this piece is characteristic of the "walanieri" variant of covers-- the indegenous word means "writing board", i,e, the type used by Koranic students. Most walanieri textiles have 10 strips of 30 rectangles, but the particular piece in the museum has more. Imperato notes that newer versions of this style tend to be of the same width (about 140 centimeters), but longer than the typical older ones (about 230 centimeters).
Souce: Imperato 1979, in African Arts 12:38-43, 91.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Collection Area

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hangings (coverings)
tents (portable buildings)
wool (hair material)

& Author Notes

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