Camel Saddle Cloth (Ethiopia)

Ethiopian camel saddle cloth, early 20th century. Ethiopian camel saddle cloth, early 20th century. Copyright Trustees of the British Museum, acc. no. Af1947,15.4.

The British Museum in London houses a remarkable, decorated camel saddle cloth (acc. no. Af1947,15.4). It comes from Ethiopia and dates to the first half of the twentieth century. The ground cloth is 107 x 83 cm in size and is made from orange cotton with appliqué green leather strips.

The saddle cloth is backed with a mid-blue cotton material. It is likely that the leather was first cut into strips, embroidered and then the strips were cut to the correct lengths to create the design required. The embroidery is carried out using satin stitch. The strips are decorated with a simple geometric and floral design worked in light blue, green, magenta and beige floss silk. Around one long edge of each stripe there is a band of circles in alternating magenta and dark blue. There are two large pockets (one semi-circular in shape) in the centre of the cloth that are embroidered with a floral motif.  

British Museum online catalogue (retrieved 20 march 2016)


Last modified on Monday, 03 October 2016 18:18