The origins of this Java design lie in Kano, Nigeria. The pattern is an interpretation of a tie-dye motif that is still being used by indigo dyers in Kano today. The large spiral of dots represents the sultan surrounded by his entourage. The pattern is also popular in Ghana, where it was named after a junction in the city of Obo. In Togo, the pattern refers to small change—literally shells, which were once used as currency.
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