West African wild silks techniques: Preserving Marka-Dafing’s heritage of knowledge

For centuries, Indigenous wild silks have been traded across West Africa and used in Marka-Dafing’s textiles production in the Mouhoun regions of Western Burkina Faso. Over the past twenty years, the precious materials that are used by women for weaving their ceremonial wrappers called tuntun that stands as their material identity have become a scarce resource due to climate change and human impact on both the insect species and the environment. The production of wild silk cloth that forms a heritage of knowledge and techniques called laada has become obsolete in many places where the material is unavailable and is replaced by alternative fibres such as kapok or nylon that resemble silk. The proposed project aims at co-constructing a digital documentation with close involvement of Marka-Dafing communities and that will include audio-visual, audio and written recording of local material knowledge and practice about wild silk through systematic collections of operational sequences and by use of participant observation, interviews and by re-contextualising textiles and entomological collections in situ. Consequently, the project aims to: 1) provide a detailed documentation of the production techniques of textiles with a focus on processing silk; 2) document knowledge about wild silk species, materials properties and values; 3) establish an inventory of wild silk wrappers motifs and names; 4) collect women’s biographies; 5) collect technical terms and species names in local languages; 6) document local ceremonies involving the wrappers.

Schäffner, Wolfgang Prof. Dr. (Details) (Cluster of Excellence 'Matters of Activity')

Duration of Project
Start date: 02/2020
End date: 07/2022

Research Areas
Ancient Cultures, Humanities and Social Sciences, Life Sciences, Natural Sciences, Plant Sciences, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Non-European Cultures, Jewish Studies and Religious Studies

Last updated on 2021-26-04 at 13:17