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Bogolan Wrap

Bamana peoples

Not on view

The Bogolanfini creations produced by Bamana women through a complex form of mud-based resist patterning may absorb and deflect an excess of spiritual force. The female specialists who master that complex, multistaged process transform a blank cotton canvas into a dynamic visual text invested with protective power. White abstract motifs emblazoned against a dark ground may refer variously to objects, locations, animals, or even past events related to daily life, myth, or philosophy. The dotted circles filling the central field of this example create a pattern known as “house surrounded by flowers,” which may allude to ideas of fertility, domesticity, and integrity. When incorporated within original compositions, these motifs produce an overarching esoteric visual text often legible to only a select few.

Bogolan Wrap, Cotton, dye, Bamana peoples

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© Musée du Quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY