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An Ancient Malian Art Form: The Creation of Mudcloth

Also known as Bogolanfini, mudcloth originates from the West African region of Mali. A labor-intensive process, the preparation of mud cloth involves many steps to ensure its myriad of deep hues and detail-rich design. 

Cotton is woven on a loom and separate panels are sewn together. The cotton cloth is then taken through a dying process that includes native Bogolon tree leaves, teas and year-long fermented mud. Depending on the desired color and shade, the cloth is taken through a series of mud washes. The designs are etched onto the cloth using tree branch sticks and handmade brushes.

For a more scientific and detailed overview of creating mudcloth, you’ll enjoy this article: Mudcloth Patterns and History. Discover mud cloth through the Smithsonian exhibition. And learn how to make your own: Discovering Mudcloth.

Mudcloth from Ghana at African Extravaganza in Tampa, FL.

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