Bogolanfini mud cloth - ROM2009_11158_5


Bogolanfini mud cloth

Medium:Mordant- and discharge-dyed handspun cotton tabby
Geography: Bambara, Mali
Date: early 20th century
148.4 x 94.6 cm
Object number: 964.49.3
Not on view
DescriptionAlthough it may look like white on black, the bogolanfini cloth of Mali is made by applying dark pigment to a light ground. Women treat a length of fabric with a leaf tannin mordant, which turns the ground yellow. They outline the designs and fill in the surrounding areas using iron-rich river mud. Next, they carefully apply a caustic preparation to the negative areas to bleach them white. The dizzying designs were originally intended to confuse malevolent spirits and so protect the wearer.
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