Wax prints fabric hold a special meaning in the hearts of African's because they each tell a story to the wearer. You see, in Africa clothes aren't just clothes..the colors, the designs, even the fabrics used are completely unique in that they each have their own history, their own story, their own symbolism.
For example, the color purple often symbolizes royalty or prosperity. Wax print fabrics actually originated in Indonesia and were exported to the Gold Coast and then spread over West Africa into Central Africa. They became extremely popular and over time the Africans customized and personalized their own designs. Today, African wax print fabrics are primarily made in Ghana or Mali, and they have a strong cultural, social and economic importance.
Since there are so many varieties of wax print fabrics, and so many different artists telling their own stories it's hard to interpret each one. The colors often times hold significance as they can represent social standing, age, tribal orientation and marital status. Many times the wax print fabrics use pictures or symbols that promote religious themes, renowned individuals, historical occasions, popular songs and religious hymns. They are also commonly used as a way to state proverbs and metaphors. Whether you choose to make clothing out of wax print fabrics, or for crafting, you will have something hand-made that is truly unique and truly a reflection of the artist and of Africa.
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