pullover style with flaring hem; vertical slits at front and back center; vertical slit neckline; long sleeves; tan with brown applied geometric patterns and designs in patchwork-like fashion separated by decorative zigzag bands; several rectangular areas of text; indigo trim at inner neckline, bottom hem and sleeve ends at inside

Tunic, c. 1900

expand_more

Whoever wore this cotton tunic, more than a hundred years ago, was a member of the military nobility of the West African Anufo people. Verses from chapters 5 and 38 of the Qur’an, and invocations of God the Merciful, inscribed on the garment by a Muslim cleric, offered fortitude and protection. Blocks of wavy lines around the shoulders look like Arabic letters but are not readily legible. They form a repetitive script, possibly a supernatural language invoking the assistance of jinn, spirits that, according to the Qur’an, God created of “smokeless fire.”

Interpretation of text:
Indeed, this is Our provision; for it there is no depletion.
In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy! God knows, He is the most Merciful! God protects you from people.
In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy! Oh God, the Merciful! Oh God! Oh God! Oh God!

Details
Title
Tunic
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2013.57
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

Show Detail

Zoom in on the left to the detail you'd like to save. Click 'Save detail' and wait until the image updates. Right click the image to 'save image as' or copy link, or click the image to open in a new tab.

pullover style with flaring hem; vertical slits at front and back center; vertical slit neckline; long sleeves; tan with brown applied geometric patterns and designs in patchwork-like fashion separated by decorative zigzag bands; several rectangular areas of text; indigo trim at inner neckline, bottom hem and sleeve ends at inside