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Brandeis University
P.O. Box 549110, MS 006
415 South Street
Waltham, MA 02454-9110
(781) 736-2210
(781) 736-2232 (FAX)
Department Office: Brown 228
For how long must I wrestle with my thought and everyday have sorrow in my heart, Peter Makuol Maketh

Material Culture

Fabric Arts


Most southern Sudanese clothing is influenced by a combination of European and Arab cultures, as well as the traditional forms of African dress. In this sense, there is no one standardized way of dressing for all southern Sudanese people. Nevertheless, each group tries to develop its own dressing style. The Dinka of Sudan, for example, are known for their famous designs of leopard and monkey skins as attire worn by men during dances and wrestling ceremonies. Beads are also woven into attire in a special way; beads are worn by both unmarried young men and women as a sign marking their stage of social development within their society. Another popular material culture item among southern Sudanese communities is crochet and embroidering to decorate, table cloth, pillow cases, and chair wears. The art of fabric beautification originated from Arab women and is widely practiced now everywhere in the Sudan. Young girls are often taught to perfect their abilities in crocheting and embroidery.

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