Barkcloth in Uganda

Barkcloth in Uganda

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The Baganda people of southern Uganda have been making cloth from tree bark for several centuries. Until the mid nineteenth century barkcloth was made in almost every Baganda homestead and had a wide variety of uses, ranging from the practical to the ritual and ceremonial. Political and economic events since then have brought about profound social and cultural changes, with resulting impacts on the role of barkcloth in Baganda society. While many of its more practical functions have been taken over by imported or artificial materials, its ceremonial role has survived, and new uses have multiplied. Barkcloth is now used to make artistic creations and craft pieces that are sold far beyond the borders of Uganda. In this book we describe the way in which raw tree bark is converted into the finished cloth. We look at the process, the product and the people involved in this industry. We describe the artists and craftspeople who make barkcloth items such as table mats, purses, wall...

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