Loving the Cowrie Shell

Sharon Keyser

Posted on March 01 2021

mud cloth pattern accessory pouch the africa collection skcreationsllc

 Mud Cloth Pattern 3 © Large Accessory Pouch


As a textile artist I have incorporated mixed media in many of my art projects over the years and cowrie shells have always been a favorite, so when I decided to create "The Africa Collection" there was no question that I would draw a pattern that included them.

Presenting Mud Cloth Pattern 3. 🖤🖤🖤

Mud Cloth Pattern 3 © Weekender Tote Bag


Not only do I think that cowrie shells are beautiful, I'm intrigued by their history and meaning.  Found in the Indian Ocean, these shells are steeped in the history of ancient Africa.   

In Africa, India, China and other parts of the world, cowrie shells have been symbols of the following:

  • Currency
  • Prosperity
  • Goddess protection
  • Medication for a variety of ailments
  • Good luck charms

I find these shells to be both strong and delicate.  They're hard and smooth like porcelain and almost opalescent like a pearl, but they will crack if not handled carefully.




Whether patterned in my artworks, or used to adorn my textiles, or simply sitting on a surface, cowrie shells are a treasure to me.



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