African Textiles and Adornment: Selections from the Marcel and Zaira Mis Collection

Hammer Building, Level 3
April 5, 2015–October 12, 2015

Brilliant color, bold patterns, and intriguing symbols characterize the dress of many societies throughout the African continent. Not only are garments visually compelling, but they are also laden with emblems of power that signify the wealth, status, prestige, or even divinity of the bearer. The body’s seat of intelligence, spirit, and identity is also established by crowning the head with spectacular structures fashioned out of feathers or beads that soar above or surround the head, increasing or expanding a subject’s stature.

Featuring over 35 dynamic textiles and commanding headdresses, this exhibition presents the profound visual impact of African textiles. Fashioned in a variety of techniques and enhanced with a broad range of natural materials, these extraordinary garments and headpieces sculpt the body into iconic form and serve as aesthetic surrogates for power and esteem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image: Tunic, Mask, and Headdress, Tunic: Indigo-dyed cotton weave; Headdress: fiber, palm stems and glass beads, Mask: Cotton and glass beads, Marcel & Zaira Mis Collection.

African Textiles and Adornment: Selections from the Marcel and Zaira Mis Collection

Today, as in the past, bold colors, striking patterns, and intriguing symbols adorn clothing and accessories of the people in the vast southern regions of the African continent. Spectacular examples of visually compelling garments and impressive headwear are currently on view...