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African Korhogo Textile from the Cote d'Ivoire

African Korhogo Textile from the Cote d'Ivoire

Regular price $1,250.00
Regular price Sale price $1,250.00
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This polychrome Korhogo from the Côte d’Ivoire cloth is an antique fabric with a long and rich history. This cloth is prized for its intricate designs, traditional patterning and vibrant colors using local pigments in the "mud base" paint. 

  • Dimensions: 20" H x 39" W x 1" D 
  • Condition: excellent vintage condition
  • Please contact us for additional images or inquiry

Korhogo cloth, originating from the Senufo people in northern Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), is a traditional textile known for its unique and symbolic designs. Deeply embedded in the cultural practices of the Senufo people, this cloth is celebrated for its artistic and cultural significance. Here's a detailed look at the history and relevance of Korhogo cloth.

Origins and Cultural Significance

1. The Senufo People:
   The Senufo people, primarily residing in northern Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, and Burkina Faso, are renowned for their rich artistic traditions. Among their notable contributions to African art is Korhogo cloth, which reflects the intricate cultural narratives and values of the Senufo community.

2. Spiritual and Social Roles
   Korhogo cloth plays a crucial role in the spiritual and social lives of the Senufo people. It is used in various ceremonies, rituals, and daily life. The motifs and patterns on the cloth often hold deep spiritual significance, representing the community’s beliefs, myths, and cosmology. These designs are more than just decorative; they are symbolic, conveying stories and messages related to the values and spiritual life of the Senufo.

Production Techniques

1. Weaving:
   Traditional Korhogo cloth is handwoven using narrow strips of cotton cloth. These strips are sewn together to create larger pieces. The weaving is done on simple looms, a practice handed down through generations. The process requires great skill and patience, reflecting the artisans' dedication to their craft.

2. Dyeing and Painting:
   After weaving, the cloth undergoes dyeing and painting. Natural dyes, often extracted from local plants and minerals, create the earthy tones characteristic of Korhogo cloth. The designs are painted using a mixture of mud and other natural substances, a technique similar to the mudcloth (Bogolanfini) tradition in Mali. This method not only adds color but also infuses the cloth with symbolic meaning.

3. Designs and Symbols:
   The designs on Korhogo cloth are typically geometric and abstract, featuring human figures, animals, and symbols that represent aspects of Senufo cosmology. Common motifs include birds, fish, and other fauna, believed to carry specific meanings related to fertility, protection, and ancestral spirits. Each symbol and pattern tells a story or conveys a message, making the cloth a medium of communication and cultural expression.

Contemporary Relevance

1. Art and Fashion:
   Korhogo cloth has gained international recognition for its aesthetic and cultural value. It is used in various forms of art and fashion, from home décor to contemporary clothing designs. This blend of traditional craftsmanship with modern creativity showcases the versatility and timeless appeal of Korhogo cloth. Designers and artists worldwide appreciate its unique patterns and the cultural stories they tell.

2. Economic Impact:
   The production and sale of Korhogo cloth provide a vital source of income for many artisans in the region. As demand for this unique textile grows, it supports local economies and sustains traditional craftsmanship. Efforts to promote Korhogo cloth have helped preserve this cultural heritage while providing economic benefits to the community.

3. Cultural Preservation:
   Various organizations and initiatives are dedicated to preserving the traditional techniques and knowledge associated with Korhogo cloth. These efforts ensure that younger generations learn and continue to practice these skills, keeping the cultural legacy alive. Workshops, educational programs, and collaborations with artisans play a crucial role in this preservation process.

The Process of Making Korhogo Cloth

1. Preparation:
   The process begins with preparing the cotton yarns, which are spun and dyed using natural materials. The cotton is then woven into narrow strips on a loom. This labor-intensive process requires meticulous attention to detail.

2. Design Application:
   Once the cloth is woven, the artisans apply designs using natural dyes and mud. The cloth is laid out, and the designs are drawn freehand, a testament to the skill and creativity of the artists. The use of natural materials not only imparts unique colors but also connects the cloth to the natural environment.

3. Drying and Setting:
   After the designs are applied, the cloth is left to dry in the sun. The heat sets the colors and patterns, ensuring they remain vibrant and durable. This process can take several days, depending on the weather and the complexity of the designs.

Symbolism in Korhogo Cloth

1. Animal Motifs:
   Animals such as birds, fish, and reptiles are common motifs in Korhogo cloth. Each animal carries specific symbolic meanings. For example, birds often represent freedom and spiritual communication, while fish symbolize fertility and abundance.

2. Geometric Patterns:
   Geometric patterns, including squares, triangles, and circles, are frequently used. These shapes often have symbolic meanings related to the Senufo's cosmological beliefs. For instance, the circle can represent unity and the cyclical nature of life.

3. Human Figures:
   Human figures depicted in various poses and activities are also common. These figures often represent ancestors, deities, or important cultural figures. Their presence on the cloth signifies the connection between the living and the spiritual world.


Korhogo cloth remains a vibrant and integral part of the cultural identity of the Senufo people. Its intricate designs and traditional production methods offer a window into the rich history and artistic heritage of northern Côte d'Ivoire. As Korhogo cloth continues to gain global recognition, it not only highlights the artistic ingenuity of the Senufo people but also underscores the importance of preserving and promoting traditional crafts in the modern world. This unique textile stands as a testament to the enduring cultural legacy and creativity of the Senufo people, bridging the past and the present through art and craftsmanship.

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