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Cloth  (Benadir)
Date: 1969-1971
Medium: Cotton, dye
Dimensions: L x W: 345.4 x 59.5 cm (136 x 23 7/16 in.)
Credit Line: Gift of Ambassador and Mrs. Fred L. Hadsel
Geography: Mogadishu, Somalia
Object Number: 2013-2-13
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Object is not currently on exhibit

Cotton cloth yardage, known as Benaadir cloth, is commercially woven by men in Mogadishu and the adjacent coastal region of Benaadir. It is cut into lengths for the traditional men's wrapped skirt (futa) and shorter shawl-like cover (go), and for the woman's wrapper (guntino). Formerly women spun the thread, and although now imported thread is commonly used, it is often still locally dyed. Benaadir cloth weaving is a survival from a cloth industry that was florishing in the early 14th century, exporting to Egypt and elsewhere. Raw cotton was imported from India until, in the early 19th century, America began supplying cheap gray factory cloth for men's and women's clothing. In response, Somalis began growing cotton as a local crop, to try to keep competitive. Another more obvious change has been in the use of color. Once only made in white, now bright colors and patterns dominate in response to the changing market and the competition of foreign factory cloth.

Cotton cloth yardage with blue, red, yellow and green stripes and plaid.

Winifred Nelson Hadsel, collected in Mogadishu, 1969-1971 to 2009

Christine Hadsel, 2009 to 2013

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