Wax and Java Prints of Ghana: Usage, Forms, Names and Meanings

  • Theresa Mortty- Bayuko Kumasi Polytechnic, Kumasi, Ghana
  • Alhaji Prof Y. S. Peligah Kumasi Polytechnic, Kumasi, Ghana


‘Wax and Java Prints’ also known as ‘mummy cloth’ or African Prints in Ghana are machine printed cotton fabrics with attractive communicative features such as colour, motif, patterns and names. These features make the fabrics distinct and easily identifiable in both Ghanaian and international communities. The fabrics portray Ghanaian identity, interests, Art and history among others. Since the introduction of these fabrics into Africa by Europeans during the early colonial times, there has been a phenomenal increase in their demand because they satisfy a wide range of clothing needs: they are the most appreciated form of dress code for the female in Ghana especially for ceremonial occasions, such as paying dowry, birth, outdooring/naming and burial. They can also serve as cover cloth and can be used for other daily functions.Despite  the fact that clothes communicate messages and fabrics have names with meanings, not many admirers of Ghanaian Wax Prints are aware of the forms, the history behind their names and their meanings, and the origin of the patterns. The study therefore seeks to educate the non - professional about the meanings, philosophical backgrounds, usage and the designs of Ghanaian Wax Prints. Using the descriptive/survey methods the study intends to describe the forms, history behind the names and meanings and the patterns of the prints from primary and secondary sources. Clothes  communicate messages from the wearer to the observer whether the wearer is aware or not. It is therefore worthwhile if all users and wearers of Ghanaian Wax Prints are well informed about the designs and their meanings to promote their usage and thus contribute to their marketing.

Jun 28, 2017
How to Cite
MORTTY- BAYUKO, Theresa; PELIGAH, Alhaji Prof Y. S.. Wax and Java Prints of Ghana: Usage, Forms, Names and Meanings. International Conference on Applied Science and Technology Conference Proceedings, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 1, p. 41 - 56, june 2017. ISSN 2467-902X. Available at: <https://conference.kstu.edu.gh/index.php/proceedings/article/view/48>. Date accessed: 21 oct. 2019.
Creative and Applied Arts