Out of Africa: Stunning Sub-Saharan Textiles

While I was in Northern California this summer, I visited the Sujaro Gallery of African Art in Mill Valley, and I was blown away by their superb inventory of authentic sub-Saharan textiles. I bought one of the traditional Kuba dance skirts from the D.R. Congo, similar to the one shown below. Made of appliqué raffia cloth patches in unusual abstract shapes, it’s so unique and beautiful–a showpiece that I know will inspire many creative design ideas in me.  I am also fascinated by the bogolanfini (mud cloth) and indigo textiles made by the Bamana tribe in Mali.  The examples below are so luscious, and could so easily be incorporated into many styles of design, it would be hard to choose just one. I may have to become a repeat customer!

Applique and braided raffia Kuba dance skirt from the D.R. Cong

A traditional Kuba dance skirt, made of appliqué raffia cloth, from the D.R. Congo.

Bogolanfini Textile (Mud Cloth) from Mali

A bogolanfini textile, commonly known as mud cloth, from Mali.

Bogolanfini with indigo strips from Mali

A bogolanfini textile with strips of indigo cloth made by the Bamana tribe from Mali.

Indigo cloth from the Bamana tribe in Mali

Another magnificent Bamana indigo cloth from Mali.