About this artwork
Embroidered robes in this particular style are still worn by men across northern West Africa, where they are associated with Islamic culture. Such garments enhance the wearer’s physical size and thus his social status. The use of expensive indigo dye (saki) is also a sign of prestige.
To embellish the robe, the “eight knives” motif has been combined with a spiral pattern that carries cosmological significance in the Muslim context.
- Robe (Riga Saki)
- Made 1940–1949
- Cotton, narrow strips of plain weave; pieced; embroidered with cotton in buttonhole, knotted buttonhole, open chain, and stem stitches; edged with oblique interlacing
- 134.4 x 256.4 cm (52 7/8 x 101 in.)
- Restricted gift of Mr. and Mrs. David C. Ruttenberg