The Traditional Madagascar Clothing also known as Lamba is worn by both males and females, especially in the Malagasy culture. The silk textile is a rectangular cloth wrapped across the shoulder or over the body as a sarong.
Historically, Traditional Lamba clothes were used as daily wear by the people and could be produced from not just silk but alps cow hides, pig skin, raffia, cotton, or bast. The colors of these clothes could be plain white, multicolor tie-dye, white, black, or even red stripes.
The designs went on to include geometric patterns having the green and brown shades ideological of the Sakalava villages. During the pre-colonial era, Lamba produced by the Merina people were brightly-colored in multiple weaves.
With the expansion of traditional cloth, you would easily find rayon and cotton lambas from India for the Malagasy market.
Lambas are also used ceremonially for wrapping the remains of a dead person before placement in the tomb. Another cloth is also placed on the corpse as a sign of respect for the soul of the dead person. Apart from this, women use the clothing to fasten children on their backs and also as a cushion for carrying heavy objects on their heads.
In Northern Madagascar, the traditional cloth is known as Lamba while in some Eastern parts, it is known as Simbo.
Types of Lambas Produced in Madagascar
- Lambahoany which means Coming home is demarcated from others with a proverb (ohabolana) inscribed on the lower borders of the material.
- Lamba Akotofahana is made from silk and has complex patterns
- Lamba mpanjaka is worn by royals, elders, and prestigious people in the society
- Lambamena is made from silk and is used as a burial shroud
- Lamba arindrano is a blend of silk and cotton.
- Jabo-Landy is a traditional blend of silk and raffia fibers.
- Laimasaka is made from raffia and designed with ikat-dyed patterns for use as a burial shroud.
Pictures of Lamba: Traditional Madagascar Clothing
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