If you’ve ever experienced the unmatched look and feel of a piece of bogolanfini cloth (also called bogolan or mudcloth) up close, you’re sure to understand its worldwide appeal. Made by the Bamana women of Mali in West Africa, using a technique traditionally passed on from mother to daughter, bogolan was primarily worn to mark important stages in the lives of women. Wrapped garments made from bogolan were worn in the rite of passage from young girl to young woman, prior to the consummation of marriage, and after childbirth. The cloth was equally important to hunters and considered a protection from malevolent forces. Like other authentic African textiles, bogolan’s bold designs are inspired by everyday objects as well as proverbs and historical events.

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