skirt for girl

20th century
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Guinea Bissau

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

raffia and dye

Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Textiles and Fashion Arts



The Bidjogo use clothing as a way to differentiate between age-grades. During the fanado period, adolescent females are taken into a hut with a priestess for three days. During this period, the girls learn about their role as protectors of the souls of boys who died before being initiated into adulthood. The newly initiated women serve as a conduit for the souls of the deceased boys during initiation rituals supervised by local elders. In addition, it is during this period that girls give up their short vegetable fiber skirts, like this one, for longer skirts.


1973, sold by Galerie Majestic, Paris, to 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