Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Eyo Masqueraders, openwork shawls and early aso oke.





Eyo or Adamorisha, is the signature masquerade performance of Lagos island, still enacted as an annual festival event. Today the performers wear imported white lace robes and veils but images from the early colonial era , above, show a combination of agbada gowns in various colours with locally woven openwork aso oke cloths similar to the two now very rare C19th examples shown above. We can imagine the performers borrowing women’s shawls from wives or mothers for this purpose, and that there participation in the spiritually charged performance added an additional layer of meaning to the textiles.

For more details on the shawls please visit out Nigerian men’s weaving gallery here. For robes see our agbada gallery.

The second masquerade picture above is in the British Museum, ref Af,A51.75. Other images authors collection.

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