These shawls are by order only. Current lead time, excluding postage from France, is approximately 8 weeks
This is Aboubakar's interpretation of a traditional men's shawl, called a Dissa in Bamanan-kan. These shawls are very large, and have an intricate macramaed border with very long hand-twisted fringes.
In old Mali, a mother would have begun saving for this shawl when her son was still a baby. A Dissa required so much work and raw materials that it was worth the equivalent of 10 cows. Dissa shawls were traditionally made with 7 bands of handspun and handwoven cotton. The number seven is symbolic in Malian cosmology - it represents the number three, which refers to the masculine (from the two testes and the man's sex) added to the number four, which is feminine (from the two breast, her womb, and the power to grow and give life), and is the number of completeness, of balance, of harmony and unity. The very long fringes of the shawl could be used to record-keep; travelling, a man might knot a strand of the fringe for each day travelled, or to keep count of the cows in a herd. And the size of the shawl saw it doubling as a piece of clothing or as a blanket when necessary.
A young man would be presented with his Dissa shawl on his wedding day, and would wear it always. At the end of his life, the Dissa would serve to wrap his body in for burial, its blue colour serving as a link between the Earth and the heavens and helping to protect the body and move the soul from the earthly plane. Throughout his life, the man would be conscious that he was wearing his shroud on his shoulders, and with this he was always accompanied by the knowledge of his own humanity and fragility.
Each of Aboubakar's shawls is made from lengths of handspun and handwoven organic Malian cotton, stitched together and hand-fringed. The traditional Dissa was dyed a very dark indigo, but Aboubakar makes these in a range of indigo shades, as well as a plain cream shawl which highlights the beauty of the handspun Malian cotton, and a shibori-patterned shawl. The intricate macramaed borders are a tradition themselves, and each end with the long hand-twisted fringes takes up to two weeks to complete. Each shawl measures approximately 180x60cm excluding fringes; the fringes are approximately 40cm long. The number of cotton bands may vary from 5-7. This is in order to maintain a standard size because the bands themselves are entirely handwoven and can vary greatly in width.
Genuinely luxurious, practical and durable, these large, tactile shawls are designed to be timeless, and will grow more beautiful with use. Malian indigenous cotton is particularly soft, and the handspun thread gives these pieces a texture and drape that cannot be replicated by machine-spun cottons. The dyestuffs used are traditionally considered to be protective, healing and calming when worn next to the skin.
Like all of Aboubakar's pieces, each one is unique, entirely handmade, and bearing the mark of its maker's hands. The colour shown here is indicative but may not be exact; these colours are alive, not made with dye extracts, but with whole leaves and minerals and their tonal variations reflect the exact profile of the plants and minerals of each individual dye-vat.
Your shawl should be washed gently by hand and airdryed. Your piece will come with washing instructions.
Upon purchase, you will receive an email confirming your order, and an email containing the tracking number when the item is shipped. All items are shipped both tracked and insured. Please make sure the address registered with your payment option is correct.