R6095/1 Textile; Blanket

square wool basotho blanket in bold stripes of purple, yellow, blue, red and green.

Basotho blanket (Museum Accession Number R6095/)

This thick woollen blanket is an iconic textile in southern Africa. Originating in Lesotho, they are associated with King Moshoeshoe I (c. 1786 – 1870) who was also responsible for popularising shweshwe fabric. Basotho blankets are worn around the shoulders secured with a large pin, reminescent of the way in which Sotho men would have traditionally worn a kaross (animal skin shawl). The blankets are now produced in South Africa by Aranda Textile Mills. This striped design is called Umbhalo and is worn by married Ndebele women. Collected as part of the Fashioning Africa project.

Creator: Aranda Textile Mills

Place: Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa, Africa

Date: 2018

striped basotho blanket styled on mannequin

Basotho blanket styled on mannequin (Museum Accession Number R6095/1)