Textile (Nigeria), mid- 20th century
This is a Textile. It is dated mid- 20th century and we acquired it in 1979. Its medium is cotton and its technique is factory-woven plain weave, hand-drawn cassava paste resist, indigo-dyed (adire). It is a part of the Textiles department.
Adire is the Yoruban term for resist dyeing, including tied, stitched and paste resists. Adire eleko refers specifically to the use of resist paste—in Nigeria, this is made from cassava starch—painted by hand onto the surface of the cloth with a palm rib or feather. Once the design has been drawn, the cloth is dipped several times in indigo. When the cassava paste is removed, a light design is revealed on a deep-blue ground. To temper the contrast between figure and ground, the cloth is given a final dip in indigo after the paste is removed.
A woman’s wrapper is typically two widths of fabric sewn down the center. The cloth is divided into a grid of squares, each filled with geometric or abstracted representational graphic designs. The vocabulary of motifs is passed on from mother to daughter, but each artist’s interpretation is unique, and many pieces are signed. Some well-known designs seen here are coiled snakes, chickens and eggs, and pillars and spoons – the pillars a reference to a local administration building in Ibadan, a center of adire production.
It is credited
Museum purchase from Textile Department Fund.
Its dimensions are
H x W (seamed in middle): 196.2 x 175 cm (77 1/4 x 68 7/8 in.)
Cite this object as
Textile (Nigeria), mid- 20th century; cotton; H x W (seamed in middle): 196.2 x 175 cm (77 1/4 x 68 7/8 in.); Museum purchase from Textile Department Fund; 1979-23-3