Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Photo Edition: Art and Fashion

Since I've been here the local fashion has really grown on me. I've made a few purchases including bracelets, earrings, clothing, traditional fabrics, etc. and today I've decided to share them here. Check it out:


These earrings are really cool because both pair are made out of banana leaves. I'm not entirely sure how they do it but the end result is pretty cool (and surprisingly durable). I paid 1,000/Tshs for each pair. That's about 77 cent per pair.

These earrings are made out of bull's horn. After they are formed into a shape they are dyed. It didn't really show up well in the picture but the ones one the bottom are a really pretty shade of purple. These also cost 1,000/Tshs per pair.

Both pairs of these earrings are made out of ebony. These also cost 1,000/Tshs per pair.

Just a closer look at my little baby elephants :~)

These bracelets are made from small plastic beads strung onto a wire. They are made by Massai ladies and you usually get about 5 for 1,000/Tshs. The Massai are famous for their intricate beaded jewelry. Here's another cool pic of Massai jewelry. Click here to read more about the Massai.

I'm not exactly sure what the gold-ish ones are made of but they cost me 1,500/Tshs each. The one in the middle is made of soapstone. I actually bought it last year so I don't remeber how much I paid for it but I'm almost sure it wasn't over 3,000/Tshs.

These anklets were also made by Massai ladies and they cost me 1,500/Tshs a piece. It is Massai custom to wear an anklet on each leg as some sects don't believe anything comes single. For them, everything comes in twos.


A friend of mine had this cool ebony statue made for me for my birthday. The giraffe is the national animal of Tanzania and she is also one my personal favorites.

He had the words "Happy Bday Krista" carved into the base for me.


In Tanzania you will find a mix of Western and traditional fashions. Many women choose to buy sheets of raw fabric (vitenge) at the market and take it to a seamstress to have it made into traditional clothing. I've purchsed a few different patterns with the intention of having clothing and other items made from them.

I like this one because it's so BRIGHT but I have no idea what I'm going to make out of it yet.

This one is also pretty awesome but...

... ^this^ one is my absolute favorite so far :~)

I'm kind of one the fence about this one. I bought it last week and now I'm not sure whether I like it or not :(


Kangas are very common in Dar and are native to East Africa. They feature bright colors, cool patterns, and a saying at the bottom. They come in pairs and here in Dar the going price is usually between 3,000/Tshs and 5,000/Tshs. Check out this link for more on kangas.

Kangas are pretty big (about 1.5 meters by 1 meter) so I enlisted the help of my housemates. The Mama and Baba at my house gave me this Tanzania themed kanga for my birthday. This particular kanga is pretty common among tourists b/c it sums up most of the pretty awesome parts about Tanzania. The edges are bordered by various wild animals since TZ is known for its game parks. The national animal, the giraffe, is also featured near the center.

Here's a close up of the center. Serengeti, Ngorogoro, and Mikumi are the names of some pretty famous national parks in TZ. The saying at the bottom says "Ubaya hauna kwao Mola nisitri njama zao." It basically translates to something along the lines of "God, protect me from their bad plans."

All of East Africa is psyched about Obama...but not for the same reasons we are. Most of them care less about the fact that he is the first black president in America's 200+ year history. For them the excitement is about his Kenyan ancestry. Obama kangas started popping up all over E.Africa after the election and they're being sold at 2 to 3 times the normal price. Nowadays the price is even higher since they're starting to become more and more rare. I got lucky because I got this one for my birthday. I don't own one but when Micheal Jackson died a Michael Jackson kanga also popped up on the market. It says "We will always remember you."

Here's a close up of the center of the kanga. "Hongera" means "congratulations".

The saying "Obama Chaguo la Mungu" translates to "Obama-- God's choice."
Here's another version of the Obama kanga. Instead of american flags it has Africa on either side of Obama and the saying says "peace and love. God cares about us."

This is the first kanga I bought this year. I mentioned it in the Kipepeo Beach post.

The message "Nakuvika pete yangu uwe mchumba wangu" pretty much translates to "I'm giving you my ring to wear. Be my fiance."

I must admit that I am falling in love with polka dots. I picked this one up at my local market.

The message says "Nyumba yenye upendo haikosi riziki." This translates to, "A house that has love is not missing God's blessings."

Besides Obama, I think this is my favorite one so far. I like brown a lot, I think the leaves are really pretty, and I really like the message.

The message ("Udugu mzuri mpendane sio mnyanyasane") translates to " A good relationship/kinship is to love each other not harass each other."

Kangas are usually worn like this:

Here's Anna Sophia wearing a kanga:

Here's a picture of me wearing a pair of kangas last year. One around my waist and one on my head:

Kangas are very versatile. Here in Dar a lot of women use them to carry babies like this:

or like this:
Notice that this woman is also wearing a pair on kangas as clothing, one on the head and one around her waist. In TZ, Muslim women often use kangas as hijabs. I told you they were versatile.


Here are some dresses I bought. They are long, loose and flowy which makes them quite popular with Muslim women because they in are compliance with the Islamic standards of modesty. Often times they come with another piece of cloth. Muslim women use the extra cloth on their head as a hijab and other women may wear it around the waist or drape it accross the shoulders if they get cold.

This one is my favorite.

Future Purchases:
In TZ, soda still comes in glass bottles like this:
A few of the craftsmen at my local market make really cool earrings out of the caps and I'm looking to invest in a pair of Coca-Cola earrings. When I get my hands on them I'll post a pic. I also plan to post pics of my traditional clothing after I have it made. More purchases and pictures posts to come...


No comments:

Post a Comment