This pattern is an imitation batik in which the typical incorporation of stripes and dots is clearly visible in the motif, symbolising the batik origins of today’s wax prints.
The name ‘Empty barrels make the most noise’ means that if you are good in something you must be modest about it. Others may say you’re good but you must never say so yourself. The same name also refers to the fact that this pattern sold poorly at first, but after a number of years it became the most popular pattern. As for its enormous popularity, in Benin its name means, ‘my dressmaker cannot buy my fabric because it is rare and difficult to obtain’.
Sometimes one colourway of a pattern acquires a special meaning. In Ghana, for example, the version of this pattern with blue for the main motifs is only worn by women who want to indicate they are pregnant.