Prestige panel

Dida peoples
first half of 20th century
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General Description

Dida craftsmen of the Cote d'Ivoire have adapted the plangi technique to infuse handwoven raffia fabrics with multicolored organic shapes. To define areas affected by the dye, shapes are outlined with running stitches of very fine raffia thread. The threads are then drawn tightly together and raffia bindings are wrapped around these gathers in the cloth. A three-step dying process is used to dye the cloth successively from lightest to darkest: first yellow, then red, then black. The dyes penetrate slightly at the edges of all the ties, which results in the gradual blending of the yellow and red designs into the black background. The plangi process developed by the Dida results in cloth with a characteristically crinkled and slightly elastic texture. Highly valued by the Dida, panels of resist-dyed raffia cloth were displayed as indicators of status and wealth during ceremonies and rites of passage, such as marriages, births, and significant funerals.