Woven Vai hammock, constructed from three wide strips of woven cotton with alternating horizontal stripes in khaki, white and white with black motifs executed in black weft floats. Broad stripes outlined in red and black. The hammock slung is double layered, with a loop at each through which a short pole can be inserted and secured by ropes for suspension. The long edge is decorated with a series of natural cotton tassels.

Sierra Leonean Vai county cloth hammock, collected by Paul Shuffrey, District Commissioner of Pujehun from 1913 to 1923. Hammocks such as this were commonly used to carry chiefs and other 'big men' in rural Sierra Leone along the narrow forest pathways that connected villages before the construction of wider road networks after World War II. Hammocks of this kind were also a favoured form of transport for early colonial officials. Travelling hammocks were often accompanied by a carrying frame and a wooden cover, slung with cloth, to keep the passenger in the shade, however these are often missing in European collections.

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

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