To go to any market in West Africa, where the women are swathed in brightly patterned wraps, is to experience an assault on your visual senses. This book, too, is a visual feast, illustrating the richness and diversity of the African textile tradition, and providing designers at all levels with inspiration for their own work. Over 30 textiles from the British Museum's renowned collection are explored in detail: magnificent blue and white, indigo-resist-dyed cloths from West Africa; multi-coloured, tie-dyed and woven North African textiles; 'mud cloths' from Mali; the unique wrap-striped weaves and ikats from Madagascar; 'adinkra' block-print and painted 'caligraphy' cloths from Ghana; and the 'adire' cloths from Yorubaland. Who were the craftsmen behind these textiles? How were they worn and why were they made? What dyes and materials were used, what were the principal techniques employed? In his introduction, John Gillow provides the background information to bring the pieces to life.