Dogon Bogolan Mudcloth

Lovely traditional styled Dogon Bogolan mudcloth from the cliff dwellers of Mali.

Tribe: Dogon

Origin: Mali

Approx Age: Mid 20th Century

Materials: Woven cotton

Dimensions cm: 174 (long) x 117 (wide)

Ref. Number: 1257


Comprising of six separately woven strips sewn together creating a stunning piece of Dogon Bogolan mudcloth. Dark brown/black background with a series of grouped (3) lines intermingled with triangles. Down the one side, a single strip has been created with a different repeated pattern consisting of diamond shapes and smaller triangles. Slight fraying but that is charaturistic of this type of Dogon cloth.

Provenance: Ex Professor David Molyneux collection


Bògòlanfini or Bogolan is a handmade Malian cotton fabric traditionally dyed with fermented mud. It has an important place in traditional Malian culture and has, more recently, become a symbol of Malian cultural identity.  The Bogolan technique of dyeing and printing cotton is entirely organic and kind to the environment. It contains no harmful mordants or chemicals and it uses dried leaves and tree bark as a dyestuff. Bogolan is a West African textile, also called mudcloth. Traditionally the textile is made using narrow strips of cotton cloth woven on looms in the villages producing ca 15 cm wide cloth, which is then sewn together by hand to produce a fabric wide enough to make into clothing etc. This is the base fabric on which the designs will be painted. First dyed either a rich red from a dye obtained through boiling the bark of a special tree, or in fresh yellow tones obtained by soaking the dried and pounded leaves of another tree. Once the fabric is dyed it is ready to receive the mud, often applied with the help of a toothbrush and painted freehand or using stencils. The mud comes from the river Niger, and through a fascinating process of oxidisation, it reacts with the natural dyes, producing a rich black when it has dried and been washed off the fabric. Traditionally Mali uses only one pattern, the ‘forgeron’ or blacksmith’s pattern. All the other patterns are bold contemporary design used on wider pieces of fabric.

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