- Museum number
Wall hanging "General Sumare". Rectangular, composed of fifteen (15) 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 with white, red, gold and green lozenges surrounded by four yellow ovals.
Symmetrically displayed on both sides from the central group of bands are two similar groups of red, blue, yellow, green and red bands. The red bands are decorated inside with white lozenges, while the yellow bands are decorated with blue lozenges made in supplementary weft work.
Those two groups of bands are followed with a succession of black bands and two white bands. The black bands are decorated with black and white squares and white stippled lines all made in supplementary weft technique.
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: 258 centimetres (including fringe)
Width: 140 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- This 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 honour the memory of General Abdoulaye Soumare, 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 an artisan cast in the social system of the Central Delta Fulbe-speaking people. One of their main specialties in weaving. 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 for a client, a lady called Fanta Bocoum Boukari from Sokoura (Region of Mopti). It was woven 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
- 2006 (22 November)
- Acquisition notes
- Purchased during a fieldwork and collecting trip to Mali by Dr Claude Ardouin (Dept of AOA) from 10-25 November 2006. Purchased from funds provided by Townley Group.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number