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African-American quilts possess two unique qualities: more than any other American visual art, they most fully realize the expressive force of jazz, and they bind together generations of African-American families who have made and cherished quilts. In Signs and Symbols, quilt expert Maude Southwell Wahlman introduces readers to a third powerful force in these quilts: their African-derived meanings, patterns, and iconography. She explores the religious, ritual, philosophical, and aesthetic beliefs that have been retained by descendants of Africans in the New World and demonstrates how these beliefs are represented in their textiles. Now back in print, Signs and Symbols remains the most complete illustrated work on this art form; featuring over 150 high-quality full-color reproductions.