Jan 11, 2021
Jan 5, 2018

Wrapper (tafè): Surakamuso Kunkoro Talan (The Mauritanian Woman’s Head Pillow)

Wrapper (tafè): Surakamuso Kunkoro Talan (The Mauritanian Woman’s Head Pillow)


Nakunte Diarra

(Malian, c. 1941–2020)

Cotton and dye

Overall: 108.6 x 142.9 cm (42 3/4 x 56 1/4 in.)

Gift of Barbara G. Hoffman and Michael R. Short 2016.49


Did you know?

Diarra preferred to paint her textiles by bracing the fabric over half of a calabash gourd, while her younger students often used tables.


This contemporary bògòlanfini (mud/clay cloth) is composed of 12 cotton strips sewn together and dyed. Typically, men weave the cloth, while women decorate it using a resist method. They bathe the cloth with an organic yellow or red dye fixative (a mordant), then paint on fermented mud; finally, a caustic solution “discharges” the mud-dye from the unpainted areas. This cloth’s dominant pattern is Surakamuso Kunkoro Talan, which alludes to leather head pillows Mauritanian women carried. The pattern is associated with wealth and femininity. While Nakunte Diarra created this wrapper for display, Bamana men and women in Mali historically wore bògòlanfiniw for special events or professions, or to express identity.

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