Indigo Cloth
Baule Tribe, Ivory Coast
Cotton, Indigo Dye

64" X 42"
Inventory # 10769

For centuries the king of all dyes has been the natural indigo that comes from the Indigo plant. The young indigo plant is pounded into a paste from which lumps are formed; the lumps are dried in the sun and preserved for the markets. The indigo dye pits are large holes in the earth which hold about three hundred gallons of water, in which the dried indigo is mixed with potash and allowed to ferment for several days.
The white cotton fabric is repeatedly immersed in the dye and hung up to dry; from exposure to the air, the ugly brown cloth quickly oxidizes and turns a beautiful indigo blue.
This traditional method of dying is still widespread in Africa.