AFRICAN TEXTILE LANGUAGES -I tried to place documents about my family document in Keeper of the Fire in my UGRRQuiltCode Blogspot so that listeners of the 1/15/2015 radio program would be able to follow along and join our 1/15/2015 discussion.
Our wonderful host, Bernice Bennett's on-line Geneaology BlogTalk Radio Program did her best to assist in clarification and a orderly presentation of thousands of years of history in one hour.
This is the 2nd on-line radio interview I have done and I what to thank her for having me (Mrs. Teresa R. Kemp) as a guest. I will continue adding documents and more primary sources and Methodology. These post are part of the documents we will be discussing. I put the information here for your study & review. It continues my mission
To document, discuss preserve our families cultures and contribution to World & American History.
* In this blog I have covered the women except for the patterns cut into the skin to the dismay of my African friends, due to the wide age range of viewers and school groups. Please forgive the decision, I know it is the appropriate thing to do.
Regardless of the date 900 A.D. or 2,500 BC dates on the African patterns found in West Africa, I still can show that the patterns that are called “American Quilt patterns” are found in textiles that predate the Europeans arriving in America and definitely before the American Civil War which formally began is 1861. They are not Civil War Era patterns as has been suggested in American quilting circles. There was little dispute of the of the 900 A.D. dates.
When I wrote on my Facebook page that my ancestor came from Awka here is one of the comments I received that I will be researching! In the book I discuss that the names were changed from Oka to Awka and it was hard for me to find more information and I had to look at old maps. Please leave comments and lets discuss!
"Thanks Teresa, but I'm not comfortabe with the
hellenized spelling of this illustrous Igbo town name
"Awka" instead of the real Oka, which is traceable to the
Hebrew 'roka' as in "L'roka ha-aretz.al hamayim"of
(Below Right) are the pannels of the American Fan Quilt Pattern
|Lft African wrapped head adornment pounded to pleat the indigo fabric head wrapped|
(Below) my late mother and my cousin Lynn Booram in front of the Hollingsworth Fan Pattern quilt in one of the families historic properties in South Carolina, Lynn'
s Grandmother is the Sister of my grandfather and Sally Strother was the historian for the Old 96th Daughters of the American Revolution and documented a lot of historic events.
Textile languages are not just in Africa. They are not just in banners, blankets or quilts.
Many of the textiles designs and colors show family,
nationalities or rank without word being spoken.
nationalities or rank without word being spoken.
Crossroads African Textile and Cut Patterns
|Mrs. Teresa R. Kemp in front of 2-tone indigo, reverse appliqued Crossroads pattern African Textile|
|Cross roads quilt pattern and other information symbols cut into the stomach & body|
There are 5 iterations of Hebrew. I was told the Hebrew in the Igbo language is the first iteration prior to the Babylonian & Assyrian captivity of the tribes of Israel by Ethiopian Coptic clergy that visited my museum.
Consider what skills or hobbies you oldest family members practiced. Write down all the traits, names, customs, religious belief and that can give you clues about where you family origins could be. What are you attracted do you move a lot (nomadic) or do you stay settled. Were your family farmers, did they keep livestock, did they like water, swimming boating? All can be clues. What part does music or faith play in your daily life. Types of spices and foods they eat or grow can also give clues to the origins of your family.
How many symbols do you see in the textile below?
Diverse groups come together at my exhibits and share their knowledge with me
while I share my family history and findings with the guest. Find a way to get community historians input on your research by visiting cultural centers, community events & talking with local genealogy groups.
I learn from the young & old patrons of my exhibits
|Bag Pipe musicians in kilts, the plaid fabric can be read like a billboard.|
We hosted many festivals so I could study the cultural similarities and learn more about the customs, attire and the symbolic meaning that are the same or different.
|Benin bronze plaque with short knife,|
kilt like attire & helmet like bag pipe group
|Here is an Irish man sharing his culture with my son|
|Wagon Wheel quilt in the UGRR Quilt Code Plantation Collections & Wagon Wheels in the Benin Bronze Plaque|
MUD CLOTH -
I have more than 50 mud cloth that have patterns of the UGRR Secret Quilt Code Museum as well as telling stories of village life, showing community cooperation and harmony. They address the skills of the group and relationships with livestock and animals of this Western African people.
|Village Life Mud Cloth, shows women pounding rice, man weaving, |
spinning cotton, a women carrying a basket on her head.
Shows a community cluster of homes, domesticated horse and the technique to twist cotton into thread, weave it into strips an cover parts that should stay white with bees wax/ They mix natural pigments into mud paint them on and let the textile dry in the sun crack it off and the result are the beautiful textiles you see here.
Woman carrying basket on her head man working in garden, domesticated animals,
birds flying cross road pattern logs & rails patterned boarder.
|Dogon people of Mali have documented their festival that takes place every 69 years in this textile.|
RUN AWAY ADVERTISEMENTS WITH COUNTRY MARK
At first I was upset with my mother for writing on textiles now I am so glad she did. We know the dates, the location and the group where many of the textiles were collected.
The patterns and designs have been passed down from generation to generation in families of weavers in Ghana, West Africa. Unlike other cultures and groups the men do the weaving of Kente.
All of the languages were not only put in fabrics. Above note the matching
designs on both the Igbo girl and the mud cloth textile. The textile and the photo are 90 years apart.
ADINKRA STAMPS -
My mother brought me eight Adinkra stamps from her research trip to Ghana. Below left is one of them.
The patterned gourd is dipped in natural dye and stamped on the fabric in specific patterns to communicate a message or funeral information.
Colors and the shapes have meanings.There are posters of both Kente and Adinkra symbol meanings that I display when I exhibit.
Note the designs and patterns in the textile above on the left it is one of the quilts done by my family
|Kente Exhibit curated by the Coubagy's at the UGRR Secret Quilt Code Museum in Atlanta, GA|
Though we think of Kente from Ghana the impotant thing to remember is it was not until the last 4 hundred years when Africa was subdivide into different countries and ethenic groups. Look at these maps:
|Jacob Hondius's Map of Africa 1563-1612|
|1743_Homann Heirs Map of West Africa Slave Trade references-Guinea - Geographicus - Aethiopia|
BODY MAPS AND MESSAGES -
|Centuries old practice of the use of body maps was documented by Friedrich Ratzel in 1890's|
Languages and messages were put on both people and in textiles. Below I wanted to show these two photos side by side though they were acquired 80 years apart both are in our African photo & Textile Collections at the UGRR Secret Quilt Code Museum. Don't assume culture is only writen in books or on scrolls.
|Run Away advertisement with straight lined scars on his cheeks|
|Committed to James City prison a man with country marks on his face.|
|Tools used to make the cuts in the body for Ichie or Country Marks|
|Sampler quilt cut into the stomach of the young African Girl is one way the patterns were brought to America.|
|UGRR Secret Quilt Code Museum Sampler in the Plantation Quilts Collections.|
850,000 visitors from over 80 countries and
48 states wrote their diverse history in my guest books at the
UGRR Secret Quilt Code Museum Exhibit 2005-2007.
|One Group that visited the Underground Railroad Secret Quilt Code Museum|
|1830 slave quilted textile in the Slave Relic Museum in North Carolina was on |
Antique Road Show & appraised by Nancy Druckman of Sotheby's in New York City
You can see it's the same symbol only done in a textile, both found in North America.
|The logo on the doors of the the National Archive of Columbia.|
National Archives of Colombia &
Cuba Publish Slave Trade Records Online
|One of five Slave Trees where people were sold for centuries in Zambia Africa.|
The above information are excerpts from my book
"Keeper of the Fire"
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Igbo: E kwere m ị me ọke m.