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.
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- Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabulary/aat/, J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 2000