10 / 2001

Liberia * Ebony elevated sandal with palmleaf upper

The Mande people originated in Mali. By 1320 AD king Mansa Moesa conquered the entire West-Sudan. Today the Mande therefore are spread out over this region. The above sandal was worn in the first quarter of the 20th century by the Mande in the rainy season. The bottom part is cut out of one block of ebony. The upper is made of palmleaves woven into one long strap, which runs underneath the sole through carved openings and is fastened as Y-string in the front. Decorative lines are carved along the edges. Ebony is extremely hard wood, which makes it difficult to work on. However, it is also very durable and after drying free from warping.

Research and text by : W.A.H.M. Habraken-Oosterhout-Holland
Illustration by : Colin Ball - Waalwijk - Holland