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Mudcloth Textile Handwoven Bogolanfini Orange Hearts Mali Africa

Product #: 114380
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Title Mudcloth Textile Handwoven Bogolanfini Orange Hearts Mali Africa
Type of Object Cloth, Textile
Country of Origin Mali
People Bamana
Materials Cotton. Dyes
Approximate Age Contemporary
Dimensions Height: 42 Inches
Width: 62 Inches
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair Fraying, light odor from dyes; see pictures for details.

We do not recommend laundering textiles, and do not accept returns of textiles which have been laundered in any manner.  Even dry cleaning is too much for some of these antique textiles.  For some of them, a very gentle HAND washing  (NEVER MACHINE, on any setting)  in cool water with a very gentle detergent works, but even then, dyes may not be colorfast, and fabric may be less strong than it appears.

Additional Information:  Bogolan or Bogolanfini is Malian name for the traditional African mud cloth made in Mali. In the Bamana language, the term "Bogolan" or "Bogolanfini" means Mud cloth in English. The same term is also applied to the process of making these cloths. "Bogo means earth or mud, lan means with or by means of and fini means cloth.

To make this cloth the artist uses a hand spun and hand woven cloth on which he/she adds designs of his/her choice. The process of producing these textiles is very long and involves both men and women. The cloth is handspun and handwoven by men who use local cotton and small strip looms. The strips produced are sewn together to make a large cloth. Almost ten strips are needed in order to get a normal wrapper size cloth. Each strip is around 5 to 6 inches wide. In traditional practice, the sewer joins the strips using needle and thread, and in more recent times the artist works with a hand-operated sewing machine.

The finished cloth is then washed off and dried in the sun. The dried cloth is soaked in a mixture of pounded leaves from local trees. Once dried, the cloth is ready to receive the mud dye and its decorations. Traditionally, women were in charge of decorating the cloth. Today both men and women can decorate a cloth. With a small bamboo or metal spatula, the artist draws the designs on the dried cloth using a pre-mixed mud dye. After that the cloth is washed to remove any excess mud from the design process. Each design is outlined one more time. The artist repeats this process to get a better result. Local bleach or soda is applied on yellow areas to make the patterns lighter. The textile is then dried in the sun and ready to be used.

There is a variety of mudcloth styles across Mali. Patterns on mudcloth vary from one cloth to another and from one region or workshop to another. According to the region, designs and colors on mudcloth held specific names and meanings. They are works of workshops across the country. Patterns and colors may have much to do with gender, social status, or personal taste. Some of the patterns are purely decorative. In various regions textiles with bright colors compete with the traditional black and white (or creamy) cloth commonly found in Bamako, the capitol of Mali.

Today, these Bogolanfini textiles have become a symbol of creativity in Bamana culture. Known internationally, Bogolanfini motifs have inspired the world-class fashion industries.

Recommended Reading:

- Imperato, Pascal James and Marli Shamir, " Bokolanfini: Mudcloth of the Bamana of Mali", African Arts vol.3 # 4, Summer 1070:32-42

- Renewing Tradition. The revitalization of Bogolan Mali and Abroad. The University of Iowa Museum of Art, Catalog of Exhibition, 2000

- Rovine Victoria. "Bogolanfini in Bamako: The biography of a Malian Textile" African Arts, Vol. 30 #1, Winter 1997: 40-51, 94-96