These pillows are made using authentic mud cloth from the West African nation of Mali. In Bambara, the native language of Mali, the cloth is known as bogolanfini, which is actually made up of three words. Bogo, meaning “earth” or “mud”, lan, meaning “with” and fini, meaning “cloth”. Bogolanfini is a handmade Malian cotton fabric dyed using a process of fermented mud that dates back to the 12th century. The cloth is first dyed in baths of tree leaves and branches, then sun-dried. The patterns are painted on using a special mud collected from ponds during the previous seasons and left to ferment. As the cloth dries, the dark black mud turns grey and the cloth is washed to remove excess mud. This process is repeated multiple times in order to achieve the desired color. The light areas are painted with a bleaching agent, and left to dry in the sun for over a week. When the bleach is washed off, what remains is the characteristic white pattern. Each of these patterns tells a story of the maker using symbols passed on from generation to generation.
Tailored from traditional Malian cotton mud cloth
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