Wax Print Textile, ABC Pattern
Arts of Africa
This contemporary “ABC” fabric is similar to a cloth on an innermost layer in the featured egúngún (see photograph). Colorful patterned cottons like this were first created in Holland to imitate Javanese batiks. Since their nineteenth-century invention, these widely traded textiles have been nicknamed “African print” because of their ubiquity on much of the continent. Known in Nigeria as “wax,” “hollandais,” or “ankara,” such patterned cottons were printed both locally and abroad, with new designs made to African aesthetic preferences. Consumers chose the “ABC” pattern to demonstrate that they valued education. As the Dutch company Vlisco invented the “ABC” pattern in 1920, the egúngún could have been made no earlier than that year for the printed cloth to have been sewn inside it. “ABC” has remained in constant production for nearly a century, as this recent example demonstrates.
Cotton, synthetic dye
Gift of Vlisco B.V.
One of six color variations of a wax print textile in the ABC pattern.
This item is not on view
Vlisco B.V.. Wax Print Textile, ABC Pattern, ca. 2018. Cotton, synthetic dye, 36 × 36 in. (91.4 × 91.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Vlisco B.V., 2019.1.5 (Photo: , 2019.1.5_PS9.jpg)
overall, 2019.1.5_PS9.jpg., 2019
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.