Weaving has many spiritual and mythical meaning behind it. One, is that from the Dogons who believe that each stage of spinning and weaving thread is a symbolic analogy to human reproduction and resurrection. With this, they believe that the processes of spinning and weaving could only be done in daylight hours. To work at night would be to weave silence and darkness into the cloth. The color of the cloth can also have some spiritual meaning. In one tribe a white cloth used by healing women is thought to be linked to water spirits. Although there are many meanings to the designs on the cloth very few are directly represented on the cloth itself.
Textiles were also used as a form of identity with each tribe having their own unique patterns which also made it easy to spot outsiders. Many different types of patterns were formed in places that specialized in weaving. Kings would request several types of cloth to show their prestige and importance. Kings would even compare themselves by how many robes they had and what they were made out of.
Weaving and the textiles were and still are very important to the African culture. The textiles included both men and women and the cloth they made was unique to their tribe through the patterns and spiritual meanings behind them. the designs also had aztec designs in Many centuries ago, hair from animals was woven to insulate and protect homes. Hair, along with fibers from various plants and trees, were used to create bedding, blankets, clothing, and wall, window and door hangings. As textiles became more sophisticated, they were also used as currency for trading. Many of the ancient designs and weaving methods are used today and remain an important part of African lifestyles. The main method of decorating cloth throughout Africa is the dyeing of thread or completed cloths. Although there were a small range of locally produced plant dyes that allowed weavers in most areas to produce a few shades of brown, green, yellow, and in some cases red, by far the most important dye in Africa has been indigo. The vast majority of cloth produced on the continent over the centuries was simple designs produced by combining the natural white (and sometimes beige) of the cotton fibres with stripes of various shades of indigo blue. Depending on the relative density of the warp and weft threads, the resulting cloths could have stripes down the strip (warp- faced) or across the strip (weft-faced.)They mostly wore the skin of the animal and some times wove the fur into a peace of clothing.the women wove the fabric and textiles.
Read more about this topic: African Textiles
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