Screen (Inyeqamo), ca. 1940
Rwanda or Burundi; Tutsi peoples
Fiber and natural black dye; 41 x 26 in. (104.1 x 66 cm)
Purchase, The Fred and Rita Richman Foundation Gift, 2007 (2007.186)
In Rwanda and neighboring Burundi, woven basketry receptacles and architectural elements have constituted a major form of artistic expression. Historically, privileged Tutsi women were the major practitioners of this regional tradition of "basketry tapestries." Known as inyeqamo, such woven screens served as a flexible element that could be rolled up to allow passage to the sleeping area. Together with insika screens (2010.127), the inyeqamo enhanced the domestic interiors of wealthy Tutsi.
This panel is subdivided into two vertical fields of black design on a natural golden brown background. The left side is filled with a triangular motif that is repeated in eight superimposed bands. The right side is a field of alternating rectangles that resembles a checkerboard. The juxtaposition of these classic design schemes in a single panel enhances the liveliness of the composition.