Bogalan is a typical form of Malinese art. It is a painting on textiles. The textile is woven specifically for this arts. In many cases, after the weaving it is chestnut-colored with a dye (by the washing it with mud). After this is done it is painted. That may be in general drawings, but also with special symbols that have a specific meaning. The paint is prepared with colours produced from natural products. This can be from earth that contains a lot of iron or made from tree bark or leaves (yellow color). Tannine and iron are important substances, but also the indigo blue (from the leaves of the indigo plant) is often used (this dye is commonly used by the Soninké (Maraka) women).

The real basis of Bogalan is the textile with clay. Dyeing the textiles and preparing the dyes is a comprehensive process and therefore it takes days to the finish a product especially if if the painting is done in multiple layers.

The woven material consists of slips that are put together. Some are large and there are also several people working on 1 piece, but there are also smaller pieces. It is also used to for clothing. The Bogalan products are now sold throughout the world, often via the Internet.

First published: 09 January 2010
Last update: 09 January 2010
© A. Heeroma

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