20th century, 1950–75
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Niger


Overall: 36 x 29 cm (14 3/16 x 11 7/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Cotton fabric, yarn, dyed

Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Textiles and Fashion Arts



This colorful vest is worn by young Wodaabe men (also known as Bororo Fulani) during a series of dances called “gerewol”. The Wodaabe are well-known for their body adornment and their annual festival “Yaake” which is a kind of beauty contest that involves the young men. The best dancer and best adorned would have a chance to win his future wife. The Wodaabe decorative tunics are ornate and are considered valuable objects. These tunics complete the contest adornment, and are made for young men by their girlfriends. They are cotton cloth, and designs may vary from one tunic to another but they are alway asymmetric, abstract or geometric.


1975, given by Carol Beckwith 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