African mud cloths
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African Mud Cloths.

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African Mud Cloths

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African Mud Cloths

Locally-made mud cloth is cotton cloth decorated and dyed with natural materials that blend into the colors of the Senufo landscape. Originally, the clothes made from mud cloth were worn only by hunters, who appreciated the cloth's natural camouflaging ability. Now up to one-quarter of the population wears mud cloth as everyday clothing. Mothers will wrap their babies to their backs using large, rectangular mud cloths.

Painting the mud cloth

A mud and fixative mixture is painted onto the cloth. (If the fixative were not used in this step, the mud painting would not stay on the cloth.) Painting is done with a variety of objects, including feathers, stamps, and cowry shells–whatever will make a pleasing design. Some figures are drawn in bleach.

Once the painting is completed, the cloth is dried in the sun for one day.

  • After the mud has dried, the excess is removed by violently shaking the cloth.

  • The cloth is then rinsed.

The finished product.

  • The figures and designs that were painted with the mud and fixative mixture will appear black. Those painted with bleach will appear white.




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