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2013/8/23 Pictorial Korhogo cloth with mud decoration, cotton, designed and made by the Senufo people, Ivory Coast, Africa, mid 20th century. Click to enlarge.

Pictorial Korhogo cloth, Ivory Coast

This pictorial Korhogo cloth was produced by the Senufo people of the Ivory Coast, West Africa and is named after the local village (Korhogo) where these types of cloths first originated. As the motifs imply, Korhogo cloths use striking imagery and symbolism to tell stories. For example, motifs of fish represent life and abundance, birds represent freedom, goats represent male prowess and hunters represent the mysteries of the universe. According to Esther Warner Dendel in African Fabric Crafts (1974) p.143, these cloths '...were worn by hunters and members of the secret Poro society in older times' (the Poro society is a secret society in Sierra Leone and Liberia exclusive to men only), but in more recent times have been marketed specifically to tourists.

This particular cloth forms part of a larger collection of textiles donated under the cultural gifts scheme by Dr John Yu in memory of Dr George Soutter. This collection also includes raphia applique wraps skirts, raphia velvet cloths and pictorial cloths from the Kuba people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), Kente Ashanti cloths from Ghana and European paisley.


Object No.


Object Statement

Pictorial Korhogo cloth with mud decoration, cotton, designed and made by the Senufo people, Ivory Coast, Africa, mid 20th century

Physical Description

Korhogo cloth made in eleven narrow strips machine zig-zagged together depicting thirty-one mud decoration creatures.


No marks. Paper swing tag pinned to textile. 'Bamana pictorial cloth drawn with mud on naccao lengths of raw cotton'



1360 mm



This pictorial mud cloth is made from hand-spun yarn woven into eleven strips machine zig-zagged together. Traditionally, the mud decoration was produced using the application of two natural dyes. The first of these is made from boiled leaves and is greenish-yellow in colour and the second is formed from decayed swamp mud extracted from the roots of trees. An iron-bonding agent in the mud is said to cause the dye to interact with the coarse fibres and thereby create a permanent colour. The mud decoration is hand painted onto the cloth using a stencil. More recently, however, black ink is used in place of the natural dye and machine-woven fabric is used in place of natural cotton.



Korhogo cloths, like this, were made and worn by the Senufo people from the Ivory Coast in West Africa. Korhogo is a district in this area which is believed to be the origin of the cloths, although they are also made and sold for markets in Nigeria and Ghana.

This particular textile was donated to the Museum from the private collection of Dr John Yu and Dr George Soutter, who purchased the cloth from a French dealer in the area of Rue des Beaux Arts on the Left Bank of Paris in the 1990s. .


Credit Line

Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by in memory of Dr George Soutter, 2012

Acquisition Date

20 January 2013

Cite this Object


Pictorial Korhogo cloth, Ivory Coast 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 5 March 2021, <https://ma.as/441985>


{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/441985 |title=Pictorial Korhogo cloth, Ivory Coast |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=5 March 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}