School of Design

ULITA - an Archive of International Textiles

Adire cloth
Date: mid 20th Century
Dimensions: 182 x 137 cm (71 5/8 x 53 15/16 in.)
Medium: cotton
Made in: Nigeria, Kano
Description: This piece of Adire tie-dyed fabric, sometimes known adire alabere, is created by tying small stones, woodchips, seeds or beans into the cloth prior to dyeing. It has been constructed from two smaller pieces stitched together prior to the tying and dyeing taking place. The Yoruba tribe of Nigeria produced many cloths of this type. A slightly different pattern has emerged on the reverse, due to the way the ties there resisted the dye, and protected the fabric. Raffia ties are commonly used. The pattern of the whole piece looks circular, but it is in fact a spiral. The term ‘Adire’ is generally used to refer to two types of resist dyed cloth produced in Yorubaland, involving tying and stitching or the use of starch paste. Starch paste is applied either freehand or with the use of stencils. Machine stitching and new types of dyes have been introduced. Adire experienced a massive decline in the late twentieth century but as of the first two decades of the twenty-first century it is enjoying a resurgence. The term ‘Yoruba batik’ is used in this collection to refer to cloth dyed in Yorubaland from the late 1960s onwards with wax as the resist agent. It is classified as a form of resist dyeing separate from Adire.
Inv. No.: 1788
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