Dogon Kaftan Gown

Traditional fabric/print Dogon kaftan gown worn by the Dogon people of Mali.

Tribe: Dogon

Origin: Mali

Approx Age: Mid – Later 20th Century

Materials: Woven cotton fabric

Dimensions cm: 126 (long) x 130 (wide)

Ref. Number: 1260


This garment worn by the Dogon of Mali is in a golden brown colour with a block print design covering the whole gown. Gold is an extremely popular colour as it represents wealth and fertility. An aperture to fit the kaftan/gown over the head allowing a comfortable on the shoulder position fit. Open down both sides for freedom of movement with a pocket adorning at the front. 

Provenance: Ex Professor David Molyneux collection


Wearing African clothing means so much more, each symbol, colour, and even the shape of the clothing can have a very specific purpose or meaning. African clothing can be a symbol of status, creativity and allegiance to tribal roots. Originating from Mali’s culture, mudcloth is an ancient art form that involves weaving cloth and dyeing it with fermented mud. In traditional Malian culture, bògòlanfini ( Bogolan mudcloth) is worn by hunters, serving as camouflage, as ritual protection and as a badge of status. Women are wrapped in bògòlanfini after their initiation into adulthood and immediately after childbirth, as the cloth is believed to have the power to absorb the dangerous forces released under such circumstances. Bògòlanfini patterns are rich in cultural significance, referring to historical events (such as a famous battle between a Malian warrior and the French), crocodiles (significant in Bambara mythology) or other objects, mythological concepts or proverbs. Since about 1980, Bògòlanfini has become a symbol of Malian cultural identity.

There can be variations in the meanings behind the design or colour chosen for items of clothing, however, depending on the people/tribe in Africa meanings and spirituality of colours in cloth will be taken very seriously.


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