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


ochre and brown

ochre and brown

Small headscraf, floba, waved during parades and dances Ivory Coast, Dida, beginning of the 20th century Raffia Former collection of Jean-Pierre Martin 73.1998.6.12

Once the raffia fabric has been plaited, it is prepared for dyeing. The surface is divided into sections inside which the reserves are carried out by knot tying. Two kinds of knotting are necessary in order to get different colours. Women use natural vegetable dyeing agents, tree bark, leaves, liana or minerals during the dyeing process. An embroidery of loops of raffia braid surround the central pattern. 46x37 cm