strip cloth, various attached talismans
33½ x 50 in
85.09 x 127 cm
Gift of Robert and Nancy Nooter
Elaborately embellished shirts like this one are worn by Bamana hunters as testaments to their skill and bravery. Many different hunt-related items are sewn to this shirt, including animal tusks, claws, skins, and horns; leather packets enfolding verses from the Qu’ran; mirrors; and protective potions.
When the Bamana dress for the hunt, they wear simpler clothing that facilitates stealth and speed. Spectacular shirts like this one are prestige garments that great hunters wear to display their extraordinary prowess.
Hunters form an elite class among the Mande-speaking people of western Africa, including the Bamana. For example, Sunjata, the renowned Lion King, and his leading general, Fakoli, were both renowned hunters.