The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design Without End (2008)

By: Alisa LaGamma & Christine Giuntini

Textiles are a major form of aesthetic expression across Africa, and this book examines long-standing traditions together with recent creative developments. A variety of fine and venerable West African cloths are presented and discussed in terms of both artistry and technique. Wrapped around the body, fashioned into garments, or displayed as hangings, these magnificent textiles include bold strip weavings and intricately patterned indigo resist-dyed cloths. Also considered by the authors are striking contemporary works—in media as far-ranging as sculpture, painting, photography, video, and installation art—that draw inspiration from the forms and cultural significance of African textiles.

This catalogue accompanies an exhibition held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 30, 2008–March 22, 2009.

More Information


New York : Metropolitan Museum of Art ; New Haven : Yale University Press, ©2008
Format: 72 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 23 cm
ISBN : 9781588392930  1588392937
OCLC : 244293227  ocn244293227

Table of contents

Table of contents

Director’s Foreword


The Poetics of Cloth
Alisa LaGamma

West African Cloth: Techniques and Tradition
Christine Giuntini

Textiles from the Exhibition
Alisa LaGamma and Christine Giuntini

Photograph Credits

About the author

About the author

Alisa LaGamma is Curator and Christine Giuntini is Conservator in the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Akou, Heather Marie. “Alisa LaGamma and Christine Giuntini. The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design Without End. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008. 72 Pp. Bibliography. Illustrations. Index. $19.95. Paper.” African Studies Review 52, no. 3 (2009): 208–9. doi:10.1353/arw.0.0296.

Clarke, Simon. Journal of Design History 22, no. 3 (2009): 286-88. Accessed January 30, 2020.

Student reviews