African Prints

Some of the oldest surviving African Textiles were discovered at the archaeological site of Kissi in northern Burkina Faso. They are made of wool or fine animal hair in a weft-faced plain weave pattern. Further cloth fragments and parchment fragments date to the ninth century from sites at Igbo Ukwu of the Igbo people of Nigeria. A considerable amount of cotton and wool textiles (clothes, shrouds and accessories) have been preserved in the Tellem caves in Mali, dating mainly to the eleventh to thirteenth centuries. Some fragments have also survived from the thirteenth century Benin City in Nigeria.

The knowledge of weaving and fabric production has existed for centuries throughout the continent. During the Trans-Atlantic slavery, many skilled weavers were taken, and took their knowledge along with them to North America, South America and the Caribbean.