Textiles in Mali

by Rachel Hoffman
Formerly University of California, Los Angeles

A group of Dogon weavers working together in the village of Yoro, Mali. Photo by Rachel Hoffman.


It is not uncommon to see a dozen weavers at their looms in one communal courtyard. When looms are built one next to another, weavers talk while working, using the opportunity to exchange news and recount stories that sustain family and village unity. The Yoro village weaver in the foreground has laid his warp of alternating dyed and undyed cotton threads. The resulting woven strip will show stripes in the warp. In the background, a long warp-pattern strip has been rolled into a wheel similar to those of the undyed cotton visible with the weavers at the Ende village market. As with undyed cotton, this indigo-dyed strip will be measured and cut into lengths, the lengths sewn together at the selvages, the finished cloth suitable for making clothing or blankets.