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African textiles

African textiles were often made of animal hair and woven. Some of the oldest surviving African textiles were discovered at the archaeological site of Kissi in northern Burkina Faso. They are made of wool or fine animal hair in a weft-faced plain weave pattern. Some fragments have also survived from the thirteenth century Benin City in Nigeria.

Cultural significance
Weaving is of great importance in many African cultures. The Dogon, for example, believe that spinning and weaving thread can be likened to human reproduction and the notion of rebirth. The color of the cloth is often of significance and is representative of specific qualities and attributes. For example, among the Ewe and Ashanti, black and white kente cloth is typically worn at funerals of elderly people to signify both a celebration of life and the mourning of death.

African textiles

African textiles can be used as historical documents. cloth can be used to commemorate a certain person, event, and even a political cause. Much of the history conveyed had more to do with how others impacted the African people, rather than about the African people themselves The tapestries tell stories of Roman and Arab invasions, and how the impact of Islam and Christianity affected African life. The same is true of major events such as colonialism, the African Slave Trade, even the Cold War.

In Northeastern Africa, particularly in Egypt, styles of traditional women’s clothing have been influenced by Middle Eastern culture, this can be exemplified by the simply embroidered Jelabiya which are similarly worn in the Gulf states.

African textiles also have significance as historical documents, offering perspectives in cases where written historical accounts are unavailable: “History in Africa may be read, told and recorded in cloth.”

From : Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

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