Hunter's Tunic

African, Mande peoples, Mali
20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified


Object Place: Mali

Dimensions

Overall (Shirt): 86 x 66 cm (33 7/8 x 26 in.) Overall (shirt): 130 x 103 cm (51 3/16 x 40 9/16 in.) Overall (cap): 16 x 26 x 16 cm (6 5/16 x 10 1/4 x 6 5/16 in.)

Accession Number

2009.2679

Medium or Technique

Cloth, leather, mirrors, metal, horn or bone, shells, bird skulls, fur, paper, yarn

Not On View

Collections

Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Textiles and Fashion Arts

Classifications

Textiles

Among the Mande peoples, including the Bamana, shirts and headdresses with potent substances ritually protect and fortify hunters, who venture into the wilderness and confront unpredictable spirits and dangerous animals. The men do not wear these gowns during the actual hunt, but don them during festivals and public events-a sign of distinction and their elevated role in society. These powerful objects began their journeys into art collections only in the 1960s, when shifts in Western scholarship and taste moved textiles and dress into the realm of art.

Provenance

1960s, acquired in Bamako, Mali by Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart