Monday, March 21, 2011

The African Mud Cloth

What is a mud cloth?
Mud cloth is a distinct African craft of utilizing mud solutions on cotton cloth.  It is also referred to as Bògòlanfini, a handmade cotton fabric traditionally dyed with fermented mud of Malian origin and heritage.  It employs a century old process using innumerable applications of diverse plant juices and mud to dye a cloth.  Nowadays, it has spread across the globe as a fabric used for fashion, decoration, and arts.

The Secrets behind Each Piece of Mud Cloth
Each mud cloth is unique with a lot of varied stories to tell and different meanings to convey.  The secrets lie behind the symbols, patterns, arrangements, geometry, colors and shapes of the African mud cloth.  Since each fabric portrays different meanings, Africans take careful thought when wearing this cloth.  They believe that what they wear is a reflection of the person that they are.   Some patterns may show superiority, wealth, bravery, tradition, fortune, social status, characters, and some may reflect their occupations. Assortment of patterns is endless and may vary from region and ethnic group.   Symbols would range from calabash flowers, spindle, iguana’s elbow, farmer’s sickle, beds of bamboo and millets and so many more.  You may also find some secrets behind each color interesting.  Black with white designs tells a proverb.  Rust color symbolizes supernatural powers common to hunters. White signifies femininity and used only for ceremonial events.

The Evolution of the Mud Cloth
Though to some, meanings may not be widely known, it has still evolved and became extremely celebrated even throughout the western domain.  Its exceptional and remarkable craft brings out textiles that are rich, elegant and exotic bestowing the fashion world with versatility.

The Mud Cloth Dress (from
Needless to say, the dress is made of the unique textile called mud cloth that is hand-spun and hand-woven to bring about a style that showcases the artistry, heritage and beauty of the African woman.  
If you own a mud cloth dress and want to share your experience with us, post a comment coz we would love to hear from you.


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