The Colour of Henna: Painted Textiles from Southern Morocco

On their travels in the Anti-Atlas mountains of southern Morocco, Annette and Marcel Korolnik-Andersch, collectors in Zurich have discovered a form of textile design which has hitherto been all but overlooked: textiles painted with henna dyestuff. Amassing data firsthand, the collectors have conducted extensive studies in the field and have collated all extant henna-painted textiles. Their studies make it possible for the first time to introduce this art comprehensively to an international public. Many of the textiles painted with henna - the largest measure up to four metres in length - were worn by women as wrapround garments or headscarves. They are decorated with architectural motifs as well as symbols bringing good luck and affording protection. Other textiles are made for use as wedding coverlets until the mid-twentieth century, the longest survival of this tradition. All articles in the book explore in depth the various factors which influenced the designs and repertoire of patterns unique to this extinct textile tradition. Accompanying the presentation of these textiles are fascinating photographs taken by Marcel Korolnik and others to show the landscape, people, architecture, weaving, the henna plant and the process of painting textiles with henna. This is the first comprehensive publication of this startling discovery. With 160 colour illustrations, it represents a magnificent visual celebration of a stunning art form that is enigmatically expressive and captivating.