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A BRIEF HISTORY ABOUT FUGU
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The fugu, also known as the smock, is by far the most recognizable clothing from northern Ghana that has attained national recognition.
Tamale, Bolgatanga, Wa, Daboya, Yendi, and its surrounds have a very significant fugu manufacturing history.
This trade has been practiced by descendants of skilled artisans. This has become a family tradition, with parents passing on their experience and talents to their children.
The children in the family begin studying the craft of creating fugu at an early age, using very primitive wooden looms, and enhance their skillset with continual practice.
Northern Ghanaian artisans are well-known for their exquisite craftsmanship. To improve their attractiveness, fugu are frequently embroided with motifs.
This is especially applicable in the context of Daboya, Ghana’s northernmost town, which is noted for its attractiveness. The region attracts artists and craftspeople with its naturally beautiful and endless salt producing endeavors, rivers, and tourist attractions.
Daboya (literally “our brother is superior to us”) is the most well-known fugu. Daboya fugus are well-known for their attractiveness, patterns, colors, themes, artistic look, and texture.
Uses of fugu
Initially, the clothing was worn for diplomatic and military reasons instead of for economical reasons. The fugu is the traditional clothing at the Damba Festival, for instance. The smock is often used during weddings and funerals.
It is true why most politicians in Ghana wore fugu stitched in their party colors to campaign events.
The contemporary fugu comes in a variety of styles. Among these is the Yenkisi, an armless smock worn by men, especially leaders. This is worn with both long and the short sleeved T-shirts.
The Banaga smock possesses short sleeves, generally above the elbow, and is attached with prosperity and well-being.
The Jampa is the third form of smock. The sleeves are long enough to reach the wrist. This smock denotes that the wearer is of high social status or a minor chief.
The Kpakoto is yet another notable style of smock. This set includes the fugu, a pair of pants, and a hat (the three-in-one). It features long, broad sleeves and is typically used by paramount chiefs at significant ceremonies.
The Kuntundi is a more complex style with long full and very broad sleeves. It is generally exclusively worn by supreme leaders at big ceremonies.
The Ghanaian fugu has a tremendous symbolic value that is recognized globally, particularly amongst Africans in the Diaspora.
The material and pattern are provided by the traders, but the artisans are free to choose the threads and color combinations. A skilled tracer will trace the chosen design on the cloth before beginning work.
Despite the fact that patterns are drawn from nature, new patterns are always being created based on trend and market preferences. The heart and star design has been utilized several times. Although animal and human figurines are uncommon, certain antique fugu portraying hunting events are occasionally seen during festivities.
The ‘adinkra’ motif later became popular as an embroidery design.
Embroidery is typically found on undyed cotton with a white or cream backdrop. Fabrics, on the other hand, are dyed in various colors based on client desire.
The exquisite embroidery techniques enhance the elegance for not just the Daboya, as well as the Dagarkparlo of the Upper West Region as well as the fugus from Bolga.
The Kuntundi dress is used as an overcoat while many smocks with their sleeves rolled on top of the shoulder are worn below.
Wearing the fugu represents northern heritage and is an indicator that one is descended from a royal family. The fugu rose to popularity when Ghana’s first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, and other prominent representatives of his party donned it while announcing the country’s independence on March 6, 1957.
Ex Presidents Rawlings and John Evans Atta Mills wore it widely as ceremonial robes, establishing the fugu as national costume.
President Mahama also used it on several instances.
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