I’m beginning a new series called African Print Diaries where I really share my knowledge and research about the beauty, diversity and versatility of prints. As much as I love creating editorials, I believe knowledge is power and I want LAJA to be bigger than I am. I want to educate and empower people. As I learn, I’ll share and I want to learn from you too. With that, let’s begin.
- Bògòlanfini is the Bamanan translation of mud cloth. “Bogo”= mud and “Lan”= traces of…
- Yes, there is mud in authentic mud cloth fabric.
- Mud cloth is an old traditional fabric originating from Mali, West Africa. It is most famous in the city, Timbuktu.
- It is hand-made and hand dyed with vegetable dyes dating back to the 12th century AD.
- The fabric is known for it’s earthy tones and geometric patterns.
- Mud cloth gained popularity in the 90s when native traders in the diaspora began exporting to the US and Europe. Foreigners were quick to embrace the luscious fabric due to a growing popularity for all things “natural” and “ethnic”.
- Mud cloth is used for a variety of things from clothing to home decor (pillows, bedding), CD and book covers and more.
- Mud cloth is made from locally grown cotton spun onto yarn.
- The most popular bògòlanfini cloth has white geometric prints against a dark background.
- Bògòlanfini is worn by hunters to serve as camouflage, ritual protection and a symbol of status. For women, they are wrapped in the cloth after initiation into adulthood (which sometimes includes genital cutting 😦 ) and after child bearing. It is believe the cloth has the power to absorb evil influences present under such circumstance.
I’d love to see mud cloth made first hand. LAJA loves all things hand-made so this fabric is up my alley. Looking forward to adding some to my collection!
What else you do know about mud cloth? Share in the comments below!
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Cover photo source: The Well-Appointed Catwalk