North African Textiles - Baknough, Libya

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Baknough (woman's head covering)
Berber people, Libya
Wool, cotton, indigo, henna
20th century
44" to 52" (195 to 132 cm) high by 74" (91.5 cm) long 

This baknough is most likely from Libya, although similar pieces have been attributed to Tunisia; it was purchased from a very knowledgeable textile dealer on Djerba Island. The supplemental cotton patterns are sewn with cotton thread unevenly dyed with indigo, which can be clearly seen in the detail photos below. The last photo is the back side of the piece, which shows how skillfully the patterns are stitched.

It has circular areas of henna along the fringed edges, which can be barely seen, and it makes the entire area a little redder than the field. There is a native repair on the lower edge, obviously made for strength rather than invisibility, indicating that it was used after the repair. A textile conservator can repair the tear so that it can barely be detected; this can be arranged if desired. There is one small hole near the right end center.




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