Burji Culture 

Ancient Textile Making among Burji of Kenya and Southern Ethiopia

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A video of Burji ancient textile making

Anything that human beig puts on as an attire is possibly coming from textile product.

From the bare lands of northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia Burji community have been growing cotton grows for their local textile industry.

The burji community has history of growing of cotton in small scale since time in memorial.

Burji textiles are a part of the cultural heritage of its people. The Burji are known to use looms as early as 4000 BC, and wore linen clothing made with fibers from the cotton plant, which were beaten and combed.

Cotton was the textile of choice in the Burji people and was traditionally used to make clothing for both genders.

Traditionally, throughout most of the Burji’s regions, the women would spin the thread and dye the yarn, which was made from natural materials, such as animal hair, various plant fibers and tree bark, whereas the men would do the actual weaving.

The weavers were were old men who are very skilled in the industry. In some cases, the people’s artisans would teach the boys how to weave, and the girls how to spin the yarn. Some of the children would take up weaving as early as 4 years old.

The looms that were traditionally used were the ground or pit loom which was used for narrow strips of fabric and wider span of cloth.

The Burji weavers used natural dyes, which were made using various plants, in order to color their yarns, or even their finished cloths. Popular colors included a few shades of white, black, green, indigo blue and red.

The artisans would typically combine white or beige cotton fibers with stripes of indigo blue to create one of the most popular designs of Burji culture.

It is traditionally believed that the art of textile weaving symbolizes human reproduction and resurrection. Because of this idea, the Burji artisans would not work on their weaves during the night, for fear that they would weave negative elements, like the darkness or the silence of night, into their fabric.

Another woven cotton fabric from this area is the Kikoi , a piece which resembles a sarong. It is rectangular in shape, and is often decorated with multi-colored bands, which tend to be found near the fabric’s edges. Kikos is onebof the cloth that were woven by Burji artisants. Traditionally, kikois were worn by men, but nowadays they have evolved into a unisex piece of clothing for all ages.

The fabric is also used for all kinds of everyday items, such as bags, pillows, robes

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