Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Textile Productions

Zach posted a great article title "Ghanaian Interweaving in the Nineteenth Century" but didn't have access to the photos. If you access this article through Academic Search Premier (Decker Research Resources) you can view the pictures, they are really wonderful. I posted a few below.

Colonial Imports versus Indigenous Crafts (via Credo Reference)
Pre-European rule, Ghana along with Côte d'Ivoire, the Republic of Benin, and Nigeria were cloth-miking centers of indigenous cotton production. Locally grown cotton was spun, dyed, woven, and constructed into garments. When trade opened, the less expensive yarns that came in a variety of colors not available locally became more desirable than locally produced cotton. Limited technology could not compete with that of the European Industrial Revolution, by the 1820s cotton was one of the largest imports. The only thing keeping local producers competitive was the high cost of shipping. During colonization, as transport improved the need for industrialization in Sub-saharan Africa declined, it was more cost effective to import. The local industry survived due to the status associated with locally produced goods, especially the Kente cloth of Ghana.

"Ghanaian Culture, National Identity and Development", James Anquandah
Asante and Ewe groups are major producers of kente with traditions following a 300 year history. Bonwire is a production center housing nearly 2,000 weavers with a repertoire of 1,000 distinguishable designs. Asante weaving was once restricted to men. Ewe kente often has figural inlays whereas asante kente is purely geometrical. In 1991 kente sales in the U.S. amounted to $14million.

“Let Your Fashion Be in Line with Our Ghanaian Costume”: Nation, Gender, and the Politics of Cloth-ing in Nkrumah’s Ghana, Jan Allman
Anti-nudity Campaigns 1958-1966
“As we are now one, our fashion, culture and the way of life must also be identical.” –Kudjoe, Convention People’s party activist
The body is a site of social and political action… “clothing and other treatments of the body surface are primary symbols in the performances through which modernity-and therefore history-have been conceived, constructed and challenged in Africa.” –Hildi Hendrickson, Clothing and Difference
1950s, northern region including Talensi, Builsa, Nankanni, Dagara, and others did not produce or weave cloth
Nakedness = savagery = pagan
Clothing became an indicator of colonial success. British “civilizing mission”. Chiefs given cloth robes to establish status.
Independence is 1957 as Ghana entered world stage, issue of nudity became a concern in that it was a reflection of the political, cultural, and economic history and present of the country. Nudity seen as a social issue, especially gendered toward women. Men had access to clothing, women did not which created a social hierarchy.
Campaigns led by All-African Women’s League and Afro-American Ghanaian Women’s Friendship League

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