Jun 15 2017

Original wax samples

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Unique patterns on wax-resist that normally take themes from our everyday lives, now come in the form of data fed into the machine and interpreted in it’s own particular ‘handwriting’. See more

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Jun 03 2017

Dice

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Vlisco production number — 14/0575 Production date — 1933 Given names — Ludoking/Dice/le petit dé (Ivory Coast)/Kpékui (Small Stones, Togo) Dice symbolise the importance of making a good plan, reflected in the organisation of the

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Jun 03 2017

Onion Chips
/ Eye of My Rival

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The design represents eyes that are red with tears. Its official name is Onion Chips, but its alternative name is more appropriate: Eye of My

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Jun 03 2017

Six Bougies

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Vlisco production number — H313 Production date — 1940 In May 1940, a Portuguese trader named Nogueira arrived in Helmond in the Netherlands to order a custom-made Wax Block. He conceived an idea for a design with six spark plugs (bougies), indicating that its wearer had a six-cylinder car, a sign of wealth. During the Second World War, Vlisco was unable to carry out production operations, but numerous trial productions with 'Six Bougies' were conducted. After the war, this supply of fabric constituted the first shipment to the fully dried-up Congolese market, and it appears to have been an immediate success. The original featured a woman instead of a man, which allowed the design also to take on a different popular meaning: the woman in the middle is strong enough to take on six

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Jun 03 2017

Alphabet

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Vlisco production Number — 14/0017 Year of production — 1920 Education is a highly valued commodity in Africa. People wear this design to indicate that they went to school and know how to read and write. They also attach importance to a good education for their children, and they set aside money to provide

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Jun 03 2017

Hand and Fingers

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Education often crops up in conjunction with other more traditional African themes. A pattern called Hands and Fingers shows the upturned palm of a hand surrounded by rows of detached fingers, with the hand holding twelve pennies. This design is very old, with some sources dating it as far back as 1895, and has been available in various forms from several companies ever since. The education theme is expressed by the twelve pennies, which make up one shilling. In Africa, or for that matter anywhere, what could be more educational than how to add up your pennies? Digging deeper into the Hands and Fingers design we find another universal theme: interdependence. This theme works on multiple levels, from the national and tribe all the way down to the village, the compound and the family. Just as the hand is useless without the fingers, the ruler or village elder cannot function without the support of the

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Jun 02 2017

Long live the…

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In addition to elections and revolutions, commemorative prints have celebrated all sorts of events: births and deaths; birthdays and anniversaries; pop concerts and sporting events; and presidential, royal and papal visits. Cloths have been commissioned and printed for chiefs and dignitaries, governments and NGOs, schools and colleges, companies and trade unions, missions and

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