School of Design

ULITA - an Archive of International Textiles

Adire cloth
Date: c.1970-1994
Dimensions: 166.4 × 105.7 cm (65 1/2 × 41 5/8 in.)
Medium: cotton
Made in: Nigeria, Yorubaland
Collected in: Nigeria, Ilorin
Description: This is a long Yoruba Adire cloth, probably produced using synthetic indigo dye, with selvedge on two sides.This cloth is an example of both ‘Adire Oniko’ and ‘Adire Alabere’. ‘Adire Oniko’ is the name given to a cloth which is tied with raffia strings or cotton thread. ‘Adire Alabere’ is a cloth in which patterns are introduced through several rows of stitching. The threads in the stitching are drawn tightly together and tied so that the sewn areas will not take up the dye. Thus, the cloth is a combination of designs created by tying and designs created by stitching. The circular designs are formed through continuous tying in a spiral form. This spiral tying is called ‘Obiri Laye’, meaning ‘What goes around comes around’. The bold criss-crossing designs on the cloth are formed by several rows of stitching along the length and breadth of the fabric to form ‘crossroads’. The ‘crossroads’ formed by this process are known as ‘Ikorita meta to ndaamu alejo’, meaning ‘crossroads that confound the stranger’. 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. Part of the O’Hear Collection
Inv. No.: 2014.61

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