Black Panther: Design symbolism and African art on display

the black panther, a marvel  cinematic fleck about a warrior king in a fight for his throne  feature several significant array of cultural emblems ;  and arty elements  of  the futuristic state.  the over 120 mins display featured colors and designs; motifs predominate to equatorial, and southern Africa, and unique elements of African cultures. bringing to limelight an articulated level of detail and an in-depth coverage of the continent.

Wakanda, the fictional African nation in which Ryan Coogler’s film unfolds, is thoroughly captivating—a seamless blend of ancient and modern:  of tribal tradition objectives and ultra-high-tech glossiness. That balance is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in the costumes and architecture.

DWORVKwU8AUdcKothe monkey Mask, worn by the villian, Erik Killmonger .

DWORVKwVAAAJSQLMgbedike : ritualistic ornamentations of the Igbos in south Eastern Nigeria.

the splatters of matte, and infusion of tradition with futurist technology is the joint work of :  Ruth E. Carter, an award winning costume designer;  with a lengthy list of  costume works–  Malcolm X, Jungle fever and Selma. 

I went into  my interview with Ryan Coogler with a lot of images from Africa, Afropunk, and art images. We were able to extrapolate a story with those based on what he wanted to do. There was a bible created by him that explained where people belonged. Certain people were a part of our merchant tribe, others were a part of Lupita [Nyong’o]’s tribe, the river tribe. There were eight or nine areas of Wakanda that needed to be explore..

Ruth told  thefader . working jointly with  Hannah Beachler  the primary production designer for Black Panther. On the fashion and styles of the imaginative universe,

…Ryan Coogler was no different, in that he wanted us to all think of this fictitious world of Wakanda as a place that was never colonized by the Dutch or the English. What would that look like?…. ” and We had an enormous number of boards that outlined the costume looks of each district of Wakanda. 



architecture and technology of Wakanda also draw richly from the African norms.  in some instances, exact facsimiles were made with only few variations; the Jabari mountainous tribe of Wakanda inspired by a similar  Dogon tribe were exact copies with a slight altering. the north-eastern clans were adaptions of Tuareg — sub-Saharan desert dwellers of Africa– and the Niger basin tribes, morphed into the richest, and mostly  merchant group. others include:

The distinctive red earth rammed floor on the palace floor and on the hairs and skin of the one of  the council chiefs was inspired by the Himba people of north-western Namibia.


“otjize”, is the distinct red earth coating applied on their skin and hair to keep them moist and protected from the arid desert climate.



Zulu headdress., seen here on Queen Ramonda, mother of the warrior king It’s reminiscent of the reed Zulu flared hats or “Isicholos.”


The Zulu headdresses are traditionally worn by married women for ceremonial celebrations.


The  mouth Lip dish from the water tribe are from the Mursi and Surma of Ethiopia.  these  form  parts of  a ritualistic, ceremonial body modification of the Mursi, and their neighboring Surmi tribes.

While many cultures use them ( Papua New Guinea)  they’re best known with  Surma and Mursi tribes in Ethiopia. Who also follow the tradition of  body mutilation, or indentation.

Ndebele Neck Rings


The army and all female royal guards — the Dora Milaje — featured outfits with a prominent ring layered collars,  laced  with colorful  ornaments. And   gets its roots with the South Ndebele peoples of Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The overall costume is quirky blend of the traditional Ndebele rings , a touch of the Masai fashion and the generic sci-fi clothing ordinance.


The Masai use spears exclusively.


Ndebele Neck Rings are worn as part of their traditional dress and as a sign of wealth and status.


The Basotho Blanket worn by the border tribal leader — W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya) —  around their necks. comes from tribes around the foot of the Table mountains in South Africa.  the Lesotho people  are one such tribe, but the movie costume added  patterns from the Sesotho people.

dwosce2vaaelpim.jpg Most the regalia adorned feature Cat patterns due to it been historically made from animal hides.


And lastly, Zuri — Forest Whittaker– the spiritual leader of Wakanda,  is dressed in Agbada,  or Babariga  a flowing robe mostly predominate with Yoruba clans of the lower Niger, and Berber tribes North Africa.
11ffNdebgele Neck Rings