Technique – supports and reserves

The supports on which the reserves are made vary according to the raw material used and its treatment, and according to the structure of the fabric. They reflect availabilities in the natural environment but also aesthetic and cultural choices.

Two large groups of reserve can be seen : reserves that are tied and others that are sewn. They can be made without a mark or, on the contrary, follow a pattern inscribed beforehand in or on the fabric. The link itself is by nature variable : A thread of cotton, a strand of raffia, a strip of plastic or rubber, etc.

  • locally woven cotton

    locally woven cotton

  • industrial cotton

    industrial cotton

  • plaited raffia

    plaited raffia

  • plaited pandanus

    plaited pandanus

  • woven silk

    woven silk

  • woven camel wool

    woven camel wool

  • sheep's wool and sprang

    sheep's wool and sprang

  • double knot

    double knot

  • tying


  • tying pinched fabric

    tying pinched fabric

  • sewing and gathering

    sewing and gathering

  • reserve by sewing and concealment

    reserve by sewing and concealment

  • Embroidery


  • tied stencil

    tied stencil

plaited raffia

plaited raffia

Small headscarf, floba, waved during parades and dances. Ivory Coast, Dida, beginning of the 20th century Raffia Former collection of Jean-Pierre Martin 73.1998.6.7

Diagonal plaiting The raffia comes from the leaves of the raffia palm which are cut in flat and thin strands. These are plaited on a flat surface or by forming a tube with such regularity that it appears that they are woven. The reserves are prepared after plaiting by knot tying on a cone or on a pinched pleat. The textile is then put in a natural dye bath. The reserve process is repeated several times. Once the ties have been withdrawn, the fabric has a honeycomb appearance which is of great value. This expert knowledge was the privilege of women in high-ranking families and the textiles fabricated had a ceremonial function. 46x49 cm