Discovering Textiles - The Royal Ontario Museum's collection from Madagascar
The Royal Ontario Museum holds a collection of textiles from the fourth largest island in the world: Madagascar.
While the island is now noted for its wildlife, especially its endemic lemurs, it used to be known for its textiles, the result of centuries of influences from Asia, Europe. the Middle East and Africa. The Museum's small collection of 54 pieces is the second largest in North America and represents a complex and intriguing web of migration and exchanges of skill and knowledge.
This article from the Museum's website highlights some of the pieces in the collection and explains more about the origins and techniques associated with them. It is fascinating to see that some of the most vibrant colours in the woven cloths come from natural dyes and to learn that some of the islanders use traditional silks, plant materials and discarded waste from local factories in their production of these intricate and wonderful cloths.