African print toy rhino
Some of the earliest forms of Ankara wax printing can be found in Indonesia with a technique called Batik. Before Dutch colonisation of Indonesia, Batik was primarily made and sold in Indonesia and other parts of Asia. During the Dutch colonization of Indonesia (1800- 1945), the production of wax print was impacted and through this, it became accessible to West Africans.
The fabrics worn by African women are sometimes used as a method of non-verbal communication and expression due to their well-known hidden meanings. The colours and symbols used in each print design can symbolise a tribe, marriage and social status of the wearer.
For example, there is a popular Ghanaian print known as ‘speed bird’. It has multiple birds flying in the same direction meaning you can be ‘rich today, poor tomorrow’ as money can easily fly away.
Another popular Ghanaian print known as ‘Nsu Bura’, is an Akan word for ‘water well’. The ripples of water that are visible when water is collected from a well is represented by the tiny dots in the design. It means that whatever you do (good or bad) it will impact everyone around you.
This print is also know as the ‘Record Disc’ in Nigeria due to the round shape as it looks like it symbolises an old vinyl record.
Handmade in the UK by Jane Oliver
Size 24cm x 13cm