- Museum number
Shirt, jibbeh made of cloth (cotton).
- Production date
Length: 84 centimetres
Width: 130 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Dervishes (literally, 'poor men'), were religious men who wore ragged, patched outfits, muraqqa'a. Their clothing was a clear indication of their rejection of material wealth and an embracing of religious life. The muraqqa'a originated from ragged, woollen garments worn by initiate members of the Sufi order centuries earlier. In his quest for power and authority, the Mahdi decreed that the dervishes should be re-named ansar ('helpers'), and owe their allegiance to him alone. The original tunic was replaced by this smarter outfit, the jibbeh.
The appliqué panels on the muraqqa'a were made of wool, as were the distinctive garments of the founders of the Sufi orders, and from which the Sufi derive their name, suf being the Arabic for wool. Following the change of the jibbeh from a predominantly religious garment to the tailored uniform of a warrior class, the appliqué panels were usually made of cotton, thus subtly reflecting the changing ideology of the Mahdist state from religious zeal to military and political expediency.
C.J. Spring and J. Hudson, North African textiles (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1995, London, Museum of Mankind (Room 5), 'Display and Modesty'
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number