School of Design

ULITA - an Archive of International Textiles

Adire cloth
Date: c.1970-1979
Dimensions: 169.4 × 150.4 cm (66 11/16 × 59 3/16 in.)
Medium: cotton
Made in: Nigeria, Yorubaland
Collected in: Nigeria, Ilorin
Description: This is a large Yoruba Adire cloth, produced in Ibadan, and made up of two panels sewn together after dyeing. The two panels differ slightly in style from one another. The panels are starch resist dyed, and are generally identified as freehand, rather than stencilled work, though some stencilling may be included. The cloth features bright green and dark indigo/black colouration. It is a version of the classic cloth called ‘Ibadandun’, in which the designs are traditionally produced freehand. The bright green colour, however, is a nontraditional element in this cloth. The overall design is made up of large rectangles filled with many repeated motifs. In one rectangle is the word ‘IBADANDUN’, meaning ‘[the city of] Ibadan is sweet/pleasant’. The cloth contains the signature Ibadandun set of motifs, representing the columns of Mapo Hall, Ibadan, alternating with spoons / pestles. Another rectangle incorporates a stylised multi-legged animal, identified as meaning ‘ostrich’. The oval motif whose central section features repeated feathery stripes has been identified as ‘igba’, meaning ‘calabash’. The rectangle alternating light crosshatched triangles and dark triangles with a lighter dot in the centre has been identified as ‘ayed’ẹgbe’, meaning ‘the world is on its side’. Other motifs include trees, leaves / flowers, swirls, umbrellas, combs, spirals and stylised animals or birds. 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.: 2014.67

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