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Bogolan “mud cloth” is a traditional handmade Malian cotton fabric dyed with fermented mud and plant dyes that is exported all over the world for use in fashion, fine art, and decoration. In traditional bògòlanfini production, men weave the cloth and women dye it. Depending on humidity, rain, and weather conditions, this ornately patterned cloth can take anything from four days to a week to complete. In traditional Malian culture, bògòlanfini 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.
About the Tribe
Bambara is an ethnolinguistic group from Mali's upper Niger region whose language, Bambara (Bamana), belongs to the Mande branch of the Niger-Congo language family. The Bambara are to a great extent intermingled with other tribes, and there is no centralized organization. The Bambara and other groups excel in the creation of wood carvings of masks, statues, stools, and objects used in traditional religions. The Tyi Wara, or gazelle mask, of the Bambara is remarkable for its fineness of line and distinct style.
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