Beautifully Painted Mud Houses in Ghana Which are Built by Men but Decorated by Women

Beautifully Painted Mud Houses in Ghana Which are Built by Men but Decorated by Women

  • Sirigu village in the northern part of Ghana has unique mud houses which are not found anywhere else in the country
  • The mud houses in Sirigu village are built by the men as their sole responsibility, while the women decorate the mud houses with beautiful designs
  • The mud houses in Sirigu have been the dominant architecture of the village for centuries and have formed part of the community's cultural heritage

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The Sirigu village in northern Ghana is just a few kilometres from the Burkina Faso border. It is widely known for its unique architecture. The houses in the village are built with mud and feature beautiful, colourful designs.

A beautifully decorated mud house in Sirigu
A beautifully decorated mud house in Sirigu. Photo credit: Northern Clay Center. Source: UGC
Source: UGC

Sirigu village is also well known for basketry and pottery, apart from its beautiful wall designs. Faced with declining yields from farming, it became essential to revive the traditional arts of the women of Sirigu and leverage it as an essential source of income for the women for the upkeep of their families.

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Beautifully decorated mud houses
Beautifully decorated mud houses. Photo credit: TrekEarth. Source: UGC
Source: UGC

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According to the tradition of the community, the men are responsible for building the mud houses, and the women are responsible for decorating them with designs. The patterns on the mud houses have a visual language which the villagers understand. Therefore, even when there are no words, Ghanaians can interpret meanings.

Mud house in Sirigu with animal designs
Mud house in Sirigu with animal designs. Photo credit:b-c-ing-u. Source: UGC
Source: UGC

Usually, a giant baobab tree stands outside the house, and a mud-brick wall surrounds the entire house, with brightly painted black-and-red designs on it.

In an interview, a local mud house builder in Sirigu called Ayor Asoyika stated why they built with mud. He said:

The mud is a very good material to use when building. Mud houses are durable and can make the house last for about three to five years before crumbling down

The mud houses usually fall apart during the rainy season, so the villagers rebuild them. Those who can afford it build with concrete to have a house that will last a more extended time.

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