History of Cornrows
What a wonderful find. This website, The Transformation Geometry and Iteration in Cornrow Hairstyles, takes you through the history of cornrows as an ancient African artform that crossed the Atlantic with the slaves and somehow managed to survive to the present day.
There are a vast variety of traditional African styles, ranging from complex curves and spirals to the strictly linear composition of this 1939 Dan style from Côte d’Ivoire. The date of this photo, 1939, helps remind us that cornrows were invented long before the civil rights era in the the United States.
The slide show is full of pictures and also provides a video tutorial on how do do cornrows. Now I’ll warn ya, the tutorial sucks. This site also attempts to show you how the patterns used to create the styles are based on mathmatical equations and such. Ok…I’m extremely math challenged so one look at the grid design softward, and it made me break out in hives. Well, not really but that’s just too complicated for me. Nevertheless, I think the history slide show is well worth a visit to the site. Enjoy!