Bogolanfini – Mudcloth

Bògòlanfini, also known as mudcloth, is a traditional textile handwoven by the Bambara tribe. 

The production process involves using narrow looms to weave strips of cotton fabric about 15 cm wide. These strips are then stitched together to form cloths approximately 1 m x 1.5 m. In this process, the men are often responsible for weaving the cloth while women handle the dyeing. Bogalanfini undergoes a meticulous dyeing process using natural materials like mud and tree leaves. Its textile craft, motifs and designs embody the rich cultural heritage of the Bambara people.

The dyeing technique is considered complex. It begins with a step creating the background colour, by soaking the cloth in a dye bath made from the smashed and boiled leaves of the n’gallama tree (Anogeissus leiocarpa or African Birch tree). The leaves produce a yellow colour. Next, the cloth is sun-dried and painted with intricate designs. Afterwards, the designs are painted with a mud dye using a piece of metal or wood stamp. Some textile artists use brushes To make the dye, a special mud is collected from riverbeds and fermented for up to a year in a clay jar. Designs are carefully applied to make an endless variety of patterns. After drying the cloth in the sun, a final wash to remove residue dye from the cloth, rich tones of browns are produced on a background of yellow and cream.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *