- Museum number
Cotton hand-woven marriage wall-hanging with a central design representing a lion and an antelope, surrounded by squares of different colours.
Rectangular, composed of twenty-one (21) narrow strips hand-woven from industrial cotton threads and hand-sewn together selvedge-to-selvedge.
The piece is bordered all-around by a red-yellow-and-green square the length sides of which is formed by the three plain-weave lateral strips and the width by the first three squares of the strips on both ends. In the red strip on the top (length side) is an inscription “5EME” made in supplementary weft work using yellow threads. In the yellow strip next to that red strip is an inscription “5EME REGION MOPTI” made in supplementary weft work using black threads.
In the centre of that red-yellow-and-green square the decoration is organised in a combination of warp-faced and weft-faced arrangement. The central group of figures represent a lion and antelope in a warp-faced arrangement. The two figures are made by combining plain-weaving using pink threads and supplementary weft-work using black threads. The horns, the hooves, the eyes and the outline of the antelope are made in plain-weave and supplementary weft-work. The lion's mane is made by plain-weave using pink, black and white threads, while the face, the tail and the claws are made by supplementary weft-work using black threads. The black squares are decorated inside with white-red-gold-and-green lozenges surrounded by four yellow ovals.
In the bottom and the top sections between, underneath and above the figures are various compositions of coloured squares.
In the bottom section:
- Between the lion and the antelope is a large pyramid formed by black, red, green, yellow, blue and white squares. The black squares are decorated inside with lozenges made in supplementary weft work using green, yellow, red and white threads. The blue squares are decorated inside with lozenges made in supplementary weft work using red and yellow threads.
- Underneath the legs of the antelope is a smaller pyramid made of black, yellow and red squares. The black squares are decorated inside with lozenges made in supplementary weft work using green, yellow, red and white threads. Close to the pyramid is a cross-shaped figure made of blue and red squares. The blue squares are decorated inside with lozenges made in supplementary weft work using red and yellow threads. The red square is decorated inside with lozenges made in supplementary weft work using yellow and blue lozenges threads.
- Underneath the front legs of the lion is a blue square decorated inside with lozenges made in supplementary weft work using red and yellow threads. The blue square is followed by a pyramid formed by black, yellow and red squares. The black squares are decorated inside with lozenges made in supplementary weft work using green, yellow, red and white threads. Close to the pyramid is a smaller pyramid made of green and pink squares. Between the front and rear legs of the lion is a plain black square.
In the top section:
- Between the lion and the antelope, close to the latter, is a smaller size upside-down pyramid formed by black, red, green, yellow, and purple squares. In the purple square is an inscription “MALADO BOCOUM” made in supplementary weft work using white threads.
- In the centre of the piece, between the lion and the antelope, is a rectangle in green, yellow and red colours, with an inscription inside the yellow section, in black capital letters, reading “Mali”.
- Above the lion is a small pyramid made of blue and pink squares. Close to the pyramid is a cross-shaped figure made of purple and yellow squares. Between the pyramid and the cross-shaped figure are inscriptions made in two squares “MOPTI REGION 5EME” and “1981”. Following the cross-shaped figure, in the corner, is a half-pyramid formed by black, red and white squares. One of the black squares is decorated inside with the representation of a bird with a long beak made in supplementary weft work using white threads. Another black square is decorated inside with a stylised design representing a bird with a long beak and made in supplementary weft work using white threads.
- Production date
Length: 280 centimetres (including fringe)
Width: 148.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- This marriage wall hanging is used by the Fulbe people in the Central Delta of Niger River as a decorative wall-hanging or to be folded and placed in a pile with other woven pieces to decorate the bed. It belongs to a new type of coloured marriage wall-hangings which appeared in the 1960s in the enthusiasm generated by the freshly obtained independence of Mali. The celebration of the new nation was translated in the abundant use of the colours of the Malian flag (green, gold and red) in the new designs created in that period by the "Maabube" - the weavers - of the Inland Delta of Mali. In the same period some weavers introduced also designs with large representations of people and animals, a new feature which was technically an important challenge for the artisans due to its novelty and lack of established solutions. That new development was introduced by a master-weaver called Abdourahmane Bura Maabo, from Komogo. It spread soon through his apprentices as they became master-weavers. In addition the weavers drew also on some of the old designs of cotton weaving. The creation of that new genre reflected the fact that innovation and reaction to change - through the creation of new models with new names, while integrating - “recycling” - old designs - had always been one the historical features of the maabube weaving.
The new beautiful wall hangings immediately became very popular and were adopted as part of the brides' trousseau in the Inland Delta, in addition to and with the time competing with, the classic woollen bed-screens “arkilla kerka”. They also gained popularity in major urban centres such as Bamako and Segou. One of the factors of their success was that they were made of industrial cotton threads which were easier to procure than wool, and therefore accessible to more people.
In this piece the design area of the scene between the lion and the antelope is bordered by a rectangular framework made of the colours of the Malian flag. Also, between the lion and the antelope is the flag of Mali, with the inscription “Mali” inside. An important feature is the representation of the two animals – the lion and the antelope.
The weaver drew also on some of the ancient patterns of cotton weaving - here the lozenges.
This piece was woven by a "maabo" (weaver) in Mopti, Mali, in 1981 for a client, a lady called Malado Bocoum. It was woven on a double-heddle narrow strip loom. The whole textile is woven from one continuous warp strip. Each strip is designed in order to match with the strips next to it in order to form the overall design. The weaver plans in advance the designs of each strip according to the desired overall design and length. The motifs are formed by the combinations of coloured squares made of different colours of weft threads and by supplementary weft-work. During the weaving process a short length of un-worked warp threads is left between the edges of the adjacent strips to mark the intervals. After the weaving the strips will be separated by cutting the woven piece in the un-worked intervals, and then they will be assembled together by sewing them selvedge to selvedge.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Purchased in London from Mr Hervé Derrien.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number