African American Quilt

The art of textile weaving was one of the greatest skills of the African American people before they got free from the shackles of slavery. However, this skill was not very popular because the historians focused on their languages, religious beliefs and practices. The slave masters made the African American slaves work on their plantations to meet  the world’s demand for crops like tobacco, sugar, rice and indigo. The African salves were not only made to work continuously but they were treated in an inhumanly manner as well and d ue to this men did not adhere to the making of African American quilts and it was taken up by the women. With the increase in slave trade, their textiles were also bartered through Central America, Caribbean and Southern United States. This led to the intermixing of the tradition of each distinct region. So when making of African American quilts became a tradition it was also a mixture of textile traditions that reflected the artistic expressions of African cultural, religious and aesthetic traditions. If you are buying an African American quilt then it expresses your appreciation for the distinct culture . These quilts were used as a method to communicate. Several abolitionists weaved star points and star maps that served as a guide to slaves so that they tried to free themselves from their cruel masters.

Many quilts are also a demonstration of the cultural fusion evident among the Africans who were traded to the plantation owners of South America and Caribbean. This resulted in the synchronization of religious and cultural practice, which was demonstrated in the artistic expressions on African American quilts.

Various religious practices and beliefs are also associated with these quilts. For instance, the use of circles and diamonds stood as a symbol of stages of life with the points of the diamonds representing growth, birth, re-birth and death. These quilts were used by some of the African weavers as an expression of evil spirits and it was also used often to create distractions for the spirits. African American quilts did not get the due credit as an artistic expression form that came from enslaved Africans.

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