A strong, flexible fiber obtained from the leaves of the raffia palm, Raphia ruffia, native to tropical Africa and Madagascar. Raffia fibers are used in their natural state by splitting apart thick sections and knotting the ends together. The fibers are a pale cream color and are often dyed to bright colors. Raffia is woven into baskets, hats, bags, and mats. It is also used to make a fine grade of paper similar to Japanese papers.
Synonyms and Related Terms
raphia; ráfia (Port.); rafia (Esp.)
Fiber length 1.2 - 1.5 m (4-5 feet)
G.Cook, Handbook of Textile Fibres:I. Natural Fibres, 5th edition, Merrow Publishing Co., Durham, England, 1984.
Sources Checked for Data in Record
- Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
- Thomas C. Jester (ed.), Twentieth-Century Building Materials, McGraw-Hill Companies, Washington DC, 1995
- Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
- J.Gordon Cook, Handbook of Textile Fibres:I Natural Fibres, Merrow Publishing Co. , Durham, England, 1984
- Fairchild's Dictionary of Textiles, Phyllis G.Tortora, Robert S. Merkel (eds.), Fairchild Publications, New York City, 7th edition, 1996
- The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
- Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabulary/aat/, J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 2000