Saturday, 26 September 2015

An exceptional silk and cotton Yoruba wrapper.



NW513 -Fine and rare Yoruba women's wrapper cloth dating from late C19th or early C20th with an exceptionally complex and subtle array of warp stripes incorporating magenta trans-Saharan silk "alaari" in an indigo dyed hand spun cotton ground. Unlike strip woven aso oke produced by male weavers, these cloths were woven in two wide panels on an upright single heddle loom by a woman weaver. The use of silk in these women's weave wrappers was an established tradition in the C19th and at the start of the C20th, allowing wealthy women to outshine the plainer blue and white style.


However today it is extremely hard to find surviving examples and almost all those we do see have been patched or repaired. These cloths are not well represented in museum collections and published sources, reflecting their rarity but one piece collected before 1890 and now in the American Museum of Natural History, New York may be seen here. This is a particularly fine completely intact example in excellent condition and with an unusually elaborate configuration of stripes. It would have been an heirloom cloth passed down from mother to daughter over several generations. It retains it's very neat hand stitched seams throughout. Measurements: 78ins x 66ins, 200cm x 168cm





Click on the photos to enlarge.‘ To see this cloth and others in our online gallery of Nigerian women’s weaving click here.

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