- Museum number
Wall hanging "General Sumare". Rectangular, composed of sixteen (16) hand-woven narrow strips made of dyed industrial cotton threads and machine-sewn together selvedge-to-selvedge.
The piece is bordered all around by a red, yellow and green rectangle with the length sides formed by the three plain-weave lateral strips and the width side by the initial three squares of the strips on both ends.
Inside that red, yellow and green rectangle the decoration is organised in transverse bands with continuous weft-faced arrangement. The central group of bands is a chessboard pattern composed of a succession of black and white squares. The white squares are decorated inside with geometrical compositions of black lozenges and bars surrounded by four red ovals all made in supplementary weft technique. The black squares are decorated inside in supplementary weft technique with multi-coloured white, red, gold and green lozenges surrounded by four white ovals.
Symmetrically displayed on both sides from the central group of bands are two similar groups of red and blue bands. The red bands are decorated inside with white lozenges, while the yellow bands are decorated with blue lozenges made in supplementary weft work.
On each side of these two groups of bands are three green, yellow and red bands. They are followed with a succession of black bands and white bands which alternate with two bands made of blue and yellow rectangles and bordered by strips of black-and-white squares and white stippled lines all made in supplementary weft technique. The blue and yellow rectangles are decorated inside with four red rectangles made in supplementary weft technique and arranged in a chessboard-shape motif.
At both ends of that central section of the piece is one red band with no additional decoration.
The textile is finished by a fringe of unworked warps.
- Production date
Length: 266 centimetres (including fringe)
Width: 155 centimetres
- Curator's comments
See Ethdoc 358 - Notes by vendor
'Cotton Blanket (Drapeau), Fulani, Mali. Purchased in the City of Mopti in May 1990. Large cotton blanket exhibiting Malian flag colours motif hence the name drapeau (flag). Mostly used for decoration or wedding gift.'
'Note: all blankets 100% handmade done on double-heddle looms using handworked local cotton or wool (sheep). Wool blanket used all natural dyes, cotton blankets typically use synthetic dyes. All blankets are typical Fulani style of the Niger Delta area in Mali. In Fulani the weaver who's part of a special sub ethnic group is called "maabo". Cotton blanket is called "suudamaare" wool "khasa."'
This variation of the marriage wall-hanging called "General Soumare" is used as a decorative wall-hanging or to be folded and placed in a pile with other woven pieces to decorate the couple's bed. The model belongs to the new genre of coloured wall hangings which appeared in the early 1960s in the enthusiasm generated by the freshly obtained independence of Mali. The new nation was widely celebrated, first of all as part of the Federation du Mali (together with Senegal) and later as a separate Republic of Mali. The design “General Soumare” was one of the two new designs created. It was created by Ousmane Baba Drame (nickname Goital Bambara), a master weaver who lived in Bambara, a village in the Douentza District. Ousmane B. Drame made the design for an exhibition-contest held in Mopti (exact date unknown). It was presented to Mr Barema Bocoum, who was the mayor of Mopti. The name General Soumare was given to celebrate the new passenger ship sailing from Koulikoro to Mopti and Gao. The ship was named after General Abdoulaye Soumare (1905-1964), a hero of the Malian independence and the first Chief of Staff of the young nation, who died soon after the independence. The predominance of the colours of the Malian flag (green, gold and red) became characteristic of all the new designs created in that period by the "Maabube" - the weavers - of the Inland Delta of Mali. Maabube (sing. maabo) are a Fulbe artisan cast known as weavers, genealogists and musicians. The weaver drew also on some of the ancient patterns of cotton weaving. These include the transveral weft-faced arrangement of the motifs and also the use of the succession of black bands and two white bands, characteristic of the "munyuure" design, combined with the new colours in quite a complex structure. The creation of that new genre reflected the fact that innovation and reaction to change - through the creation of new models with new names - 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.
This piece was woven by a "maabo" (weaver) in the late 1970s, on a double-heddle narrow strip loom. The whole textile is woven from one continuous warp strip. Each strip is designed 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.
An important feature which developed in these new designs was the combination of squares of different colours to form larger geometrical figures, with a distinctive combination for each specific design, and the use of some of the ancient patterns of wool and cotton weaving - here the supplementary weft motifs "amrewal" (the tortoise) in the white central squares and the black and white bands "dandè" drawn from the blanket “munyuure”.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number