Colour and patterns

Colour is the most immediately visible stylistic element. The two-colour or polychrome process depends on the number of dye baths which follow the preparation of reserves.  Formerly exclusively natural, dyes today are often synthetic.  The choice of colour is associated with symbolism of the colours and this aspect is equally referred to here.


Some original patterns come from reserve-dyeing processes and are revealed by playing with the colours.

  • indigo


  • parrot green

    parrot green

  • red


  • colour symbolism

    colour symbolism

  • ochre and brown

    ochre and brown

  • multicoloured


  • paint highlights

    paint highlights

  • dotted spiral

    dotted spiral

  • circular pattern

    circular pattern

  • figurative dotted lines

    figurative dotted lines

  • irregular line design

    irregular line design

  • sewing on pleats

    sewing on pleats

  • geometric representation, sowing

    geometric representation, sowing

  • figurative


sewing on pleats

sewing on pleats

Woman’s loincloth Guinea, Fouta Djalon, Peul,20th century Handspun cotton, Z-twist Francine N’Diaye Mission 71.1988.69.30.

Production from the women of Peul is distributed throughout Fouta Djalon in Guinea and on the other side of the border with Senegal where this loincloth has been purchased. The cloth is woven locally on a double heddle loom. The fabric beforehand is folded in two along its length, then the reserves are sewn : overcast stitch then zigzag on a large pleat, and overcast then isolated stitching on two pleats. The fabric is then dyed in a bath of vegetable indigo. Pleats in one direction, then in the other on some narrow strips, as well as variations in sewing lead to various patterns and a range of blue colours whose intensity is linked to the handling of the fabric. 165x116 cm