West African wild silks techniques: Preserving Marka-Dafing’s heritage of knowledge

By Laurence Douny | 15 October 2019

For centuries, Indigenous wild silks have been traded across West Africa and used in Marka-Dafing’s textiles production in the Mouhoun region of Western Burkina Faso. Over the past twenty years, the precious materials that are used by women for weaving their ceremonial wrappers called tuntun that stands as their material identity have become a scarce resource due to notably climate change and human impact on both the insect species and the environment. The production of wild silk cloth that forms a heritage of knowledge and techniques has become obsolete in many places where the material is unavailable and is replaced by alternative fibres such as kapok or nylon which resemble silk. The proposed project aims at co-constructing a digital documentation with close involvement of Marka-Dafing communities that will include audio-visual and written recording of local material knowledge and practice about wild silk through systematic collections of operational sequences about the production and the social usages of wild silks.

Laurence Douny, Humboldt University in Germany

Lossani Dayo
Sere Abdoulaye
Sawadogo Salif

Location of Research:
Burkina Faso

Host Institution:
Humboldt University