Uncommonly known things about my country; Barkcloth

So again am from Uganda, central of the pearl of Africa that’s what Sir Winston Churchill called this place, to be specific. There are many Uncommonly known things about Uganda, but because of day 24 and 25 of this 30 days 30 blog posts challenge (#WinterABC) I will tell today’s tale on the barkcloth (Olubugo).

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I somehow feel nobody knows about this special fabric even if there are claims out there that it was in Asia too in the past.

Barkcloth is made from trees of the Moraceae family, including Broussonetia papyrifera, Artocarpus altilis, and Ficus natalensis these are all tree names. It is made by beating using mallets sodden strips of the fibrous inner bark of these trees into sheets that are used for a cloth.

In Uganda they were used for both dressing and as covering in the cold night due it’s ability to keep warmth. They were also used for burials since they were no coffins a hundred years back, so today millennials relate them to death. But its much still worn for attire for special ceremonies including funerals or weddings, and fashion designers are also discovering the material.

Barkcloth-jacket-by-Gloria-Wavamunno-courtesy-of-the-University-of-North-Texas-Art-Gallery-photography-by-Matt-Golden.

Barkcloth has been produced in Uganda for centuries, actually before modern Uganda existed. It is Uganda’s only representative on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. That list that aims at ensuring better protection of important intangible cultural heritages worldwide and the awareness of their significance.

The world leading anthropologists say, barkcloth predates the invention of weaving and yet almost no body knows about this unique fabric.


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