Though it’s commonly referred to as “African”, the fabric hails from northern Africa, specifically the inland country of Mali in the Western Sahara region. The term “mudcloth” is loosely translated from Bambara, the language spoken in Mali. “Bògòlanfini” as it is called in Bambara, combines three root words: “bogo” meaning earth or mud, “lan” meaning ‘with’, and “fini” meaning cloth. The handmade Malian cloth dyed using fermented mud, giving it its name-sake. The tradition dates back to the 12th century.