African textile



The weavers, dyers and other textile artists of Africa together makes an active contribution in creating exquisite and amazing range of textiles. African textiles usually embody a great variety of styles. Adinkara, kente and bogolan are some of the some of the African textiles which are becoming increasingly popular while some others like Yoruba, ase-oke and adire are equally beautiful but less well known.

In the ancient times the most important aspect of textiles or more precisely cloth in Africa was that cloth was used as form of money. The width of cloth strip was usually standardized in each region of Africa and therefore there used to be a regular number of such standard length cloth strips required to make a woman’s wrapper cloth.

This would then be used to serve as the unit of value. Cloth was a convenient form of money primarily because it was used by everybody, fairly durable and easily sub dividable.
Though textile has great social relevance in Africa, but to the majority of textile workers, more than any other aspect of textile it is primarily an occupation.

African textiles usually use the following raw materials:

  • Bast fibers
  • Wool
  • Cotton
  • Silk
  • Raffia
  • Bark of certain trees

Various types of African textiles

An extensive range of hand made African textile follows

  • Adinkra
  • Adire
  • Akwete
  • Aso-oke
  • Bagolan
  • Ewe
  • Kente
  • kuba
  • Nupe clothes

African textiles are usually decorated either by dyeing the thread or the finished product.

African textile sector is busy getting influenced by the various developments in the global scenario and accordingly updating itself. Nowadays African designers are increasingly attempting to add a local appeal and flavor to their creations by using the tradition of weaving and textile design in contemporary dress styles.