Textile Tuesdays: Sub Saharan Africa

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

 Tribal Drum Performance

Last Fall I had the opportunity to study in Ghana.   Their colorful fashions perfectly suit their vibrant and open minded culture. The fabrics they wear are intricate and beautiful to look at, but the meanings behind them go far deeper.  The cloth weaving process is very spiritual.  Certain ethnic groups in Sub-Saharan Africa believe that weaving should  be done only in daylight hours because to work at night would be to weave silence and darkness into the cloth.  Unique patterns also identify different tribes.

Ghanaian woman selling textiles

Kente cloth, the most famous of Ghanaian cloths, is a type of silk fabric made of interwoven cloth strips.  It is a royal and sacred cloth worn only in times of extreme importance.

Weaving the Kente cloth

                                   Finished Kente cloth

Each color of Kente cloth has a different symbolic meaning:

Black- Maturity
Blue- Harmony
Green- Spiritual Renewal
Gold- Spiritual Purity
Grey- Cleansing
Maroon- Healing
Pink-Female essence of life
Purple-Feminine aspects of life
Silver- Joy
White- Festive Occasion
Yellow- Fertility

Titi Ademola, a Nigerian/Ghanaian fashion designer, works with Ghanaian influences to create her pieces.  Look at her collection.

Alix :)

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