What is it and how is it made?
Bogolanfini is a method of mud dyeing unique several tribes in Mali but the Bamana or Bambara, as they are also known, tribe is the tribe famed for it. Traditionally, the men make and sew the cloth while the women dyed them.
- The local cotton is woven into strips of cloth. (called finimugu among locals)
- The cloth is sewn together.
- The leaves of Anogeissus leiocarpus and Combretum glutinosum are pounded and soaked in water for a day. The woven cloth is then dipped into the solution, which produces a yellow tint to the cloth. It is sun dried and the area exposed to the sun will be a darker shade of yellow than the unexposed part.
- Fermented mud (about a year old) is used to colour in the background. The design’s colour is left as is, which is yellow. It stands out against the dark brown/black background. The mud is then washed out. The process can be repeated several times.
- Finally, the designs are then traced with a solution of imported caustic soda (known as sodani among locals) mixed with ground peanuts and millet bran. It works as both a bleach and abrasive to wash away the yellow colour, making the design a white or off-white colour.