Dogon Indigo Textile

A wonderful large fish and ladder symbol design repetitively covering this Dogon indigo textile.

Tribe: Dogon

Origin: Mali

Approx Age: Mid – Later 20th Century

Materials: Woven cotton

Dimensions cm: 234 (long) x 145 (wide)

Ref. Number: 1262


Impressive strip weave indigo textile from the Dogon people of Mali. Created from strips of woven cloth, stitched together giving this textile its lovely large size. Natural indigo dye has been used to give this textile/cloth its deep colouration. The fish and ladder motif running through the entire length of this textile adding charm and meaning, the fish refers to the ‘nommo’ and the ladder is representative of the spirit ladder to the ancestors. A textile with meaning to the embellishment not just for design.

Provenance: Ex Professor. David Molynuex Collection


Africa’s textile traditions – the sorts of cloth we instantly identify with Africa – are as numerous as they are beautiful. Indigo, a vibrant deep-blue hue, is derived from a plant family called indigofera tinctoria. The dye process requires boiling or steeping the leaves of the Indigo plants and then a fermentation of the brew. Once the fabric is dipped into the dye and lifted into the air it almost magically turns blue. Each region has its own recipes and techniques, but in most cases, it requires many successive dippings to attain the intense blue colour we associate with indigo. The Dogon are experts in colouring their cloth with the electric dark blue shade that protects them from the sun, associating this unique colour with power, magic, heaven and divinity. The Dogons still live in a traditional way, and UNESCO has recognised their production of indigo fabrics as part of the world’s heritage.


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