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Agbada Robe (Nigeria)

Detail of an embroidered agbada robe from the Yoruba, Nigeria, c. 1940. Detail of an embroidered agbada robe from the Yoruba, Nigeria, c. 1940. Courtesy ULITA, Leeds, acc. no. 2010.835.

ULITA in Leeds (UK) houses a formal agbada robe for a Yoruba man in Nigeria (c. 1940; 129 x 257 cm). Such a garment is related to the riga robe worn by the Hausas all over West Africa. The robe is made of 48 hand woven strips of etu ('guinea fowl', for its speckled appearance) cloth, which is the very valuable, dark-indigo dyed cotton or silk of the region, and which is characterised by the insertion of white warp (or weft) threads.

The robe is decorated along the neck opening and upon the chest with mainly geometric motifs. The embroidery is worked with buttonhole stitch and cutwork, using bleached white cotton.

This ceremonial outfit was sent to Arthur Cordon (the managing director of Tideswell Manufacturing Co. and P. Wilson & Co., near Manchester from the early 1940s) by agents in West Africa, who ran the local trading post.

The Agbada robe for a Yoruba man, Nigeria, c. 1940

ULITA online catalogue (retrieved 29 January 2017).

WV

 

Last modified on Sunday, 26 March 2017 19:37