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Yoruba in Nigeria and Diaspora

Rowland Abiodun

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Yoruba people number well over thirty million from about sixteen ancient kingdoms. They spread all over southwestern Nigeria and extend well into the neighboring countries of Benin and Togo. The Yoruba have been urbanized since the first millennium c.e. and are well known for their fine artistic achievements, especially the naturalistic life-size bronze heads and terra-cotta sculptures of Ile-Ife. In addition to being among the most accomplished carvers in wood and ivory in Africa, the Yoruba

Okpella

Jean M. Borgatti

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Okpella dress as known from the twentieth century includes both everyday wear and dress associated with ritual and festive events, notably clothing associated with men’s and women’s title taking. For men, this includes garments donned during age-group ceremonies, the preliminary event for all subsequent title taking, as well as the apron and feathered crown worn during the Oghalo ceremony, the completion of which admits them into the body of titled elders who, in the past, formed the ruling counc

Igbo in Nigeria and Diaspora

Herbert M. Cole

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

One of the largest populations of West African peoples at over twenty million, the Igbo have a history of dress and personal decoration lasting over one thousand years. The archaeological sites of Igbo Ukwu, dating from the ninth and tenth centuries c.e., begin this record in the heart of Igbo country, twenty-five miles (forty kilometers) east of the Niger River and about one hundred miles (one hundred sixty-one kilometers) north of the Atlantic Ocean. Although the documentation is largely blank

The Kingdom of Benin

Kathy Curnow

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Kingdom of Benin, a historically important traditional state, is located in southern Nigeria just north of the Niger River Delta. For centuries, its Edo people have looked to Benin City as their cultural center. The seat of a hereditary kingship, it is also a university town and state capital. The oba, its semidivine monarch, still exerts considerable influence even though the modern nation has usurped most of his political privileges. About two hundred chiefs assist him and form the aristocr

The Nigerian Fashion Scene

LaRay Denzer

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Since the advent of daily newspapers in the late 1920s, the print media have been an important source of information on fashion and style, especially the Daily Times of Nigeria (founded 1926) and the West African Pilot (founded 1937). Both newspapers regularly featured women’s columns, often including photographs of contemporary European fashion, sometimes with pattern instructions for various styles. This was particularly useful for local dressmakers and tailors who sewed to order as well as for

Kalabari Peoples of Nigeria

Joanne B. Eicher

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Kalabari Ijo have a long history as traders of cloth and apparel items in the Niger Delta. They traded with the world beyond their immediate boundaries of thirty-two islands found among mangrove swamps of the Niger River tributaries near the Atlantic Ocean. Their trading provided access to imported goods, particularly textiles, which they used and continue to use in creative ways. Rather than just borrow the textiles, they make them identifiable as uniquely Kalabari, a process that has been c

Yoruba “Uniforms” (Asọ Ebì)

Okechukwu Nwafor

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

In the Yoruba language asọ means “cloth,” while ebì means “family.” Literally, asọ ebì thus translates as “family cloth.” However, asọ ebì, in recent times, also refers to outfits with identical or very similar colors, tailoring, and combinations of garments worn by groups of friends or family members during important ceremonies such as weddings, birthday parties, and naming ceremonies, among others, to distinguish themselves from others. Various cultural and socioeconomic changes attended asọ eb

Asọ Ebì and Fashion Magazines in Nigeria

Okechukwu Nwafor

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Nigeria Overview

John Picton

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

A broad if highly oversimplistic view of dress and dress history in Nigeria would probably begin with a contrast between textiles wrapped around the body—a complex of traditions of the forests and southern savannas—and textiles cut and sewn to make garments—practices loosely associated with, but, historically, not wholly dependent on, the advent of Islam in the Sahel and savanna regions. Thereafter, however, the account becomes endlessly complicated because of (a) the interpenetration of the two

Veils and the Hajj

Elisha P. Renne

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Global Perspectives 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Veils have historically been associated with women’s performance of hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca) in Saudi Arabia, as documented in the travel narratives of attending pilgrims. While pilgrimage to Mecca prior to the mid-twentieth century entailed extended, sometimes lifelong, travel over land and by sea, airplanes have allowed many more Muslim men and women from around the world to perform hajj since the 1950s.This increase has exposed Muslim women to many different styles of veils worn in count

Hijab Fashions in Northern Nigeria

Elisha P. Renne

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Global Perspectives 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Archaeological Evidence

Fred T. Smith

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

In Africa, the human body has always been a focus for creative expression. Each culture has evolved its own patterns of dress and associated symbolic system, yet cross-cultural influences and change have constantly occurred. A society’s political structure and religious institutions can determine the type of dress used. Societies with a centralized organization often have elaborate, even grandiose programs of visual culture associated with leadership. The ruler or an elite group often reserves th

Hausa in Nigeria and Diaspora

Norma H. Wolff

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Hausa are spread across West Africa but are concentrated in the arid savanna regions of northwestern Nigeria and adjoining Niger, an area referred to as Hausaland. The Hausa language, spoken as a native tongue by an estimated twenty-two million people, is the most widely spoken language in sub-Saharan Africa and is a lingua franca to over fifty million. While basically an agricultural society, the Hausa are best known for their control over long-distance trade networks of West Africa. Because

Performing Dress and Adornment in Southeastern Nigeria

Sarah Adams

Source: Dress Sense. Emotional and Sensory Experiences of the Body and Clothes 2007

Book chapter

The most productive way to demonstrate how the layering of theoretical models adds new dimensions to the study of personal adornment is to root this discussion in the specific example of the history of dress in Arochukwu, a village in southeastern Nigeria. I use both Douglas and Foucault in my own research on uli painting in Arochukwu, where I studied the impact a mission marriage training school had on the history of dress in that area.In Arochukwu, body painting is pronounced uri, but I use uli

Indian Madras Plaids as Real India

Sandra Lee Evenson

Source: Dress Sense. Emotional and Sensory Experiences of the Body and Clothes 2007

Book chapter

The history of the Indian textile trade is well documented (Chaudhuri 1978; Irwin 1955, 1956; Irwin & Schwartz 1966). Many secondary sources contain glossaries of textile trade terms, which I used to compile a glossary of synonyms for Real India over time. From this Real India glossary, I identified the following terms that could be traced, one to another, through time, to Real India:

Cloth and Conversion: Yoruba Textiles and Ecclesiastical Dress

Elisha P. Renne

Source: Undressing Religion. Commitment and Conversion from a Cross-Cultural Perspective 2000

Book chapter

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourself with the new self . . .

Beaded and Bedecked Kalabari of Nigeria

Joanne B. Eicher

Source: Beads and Bead Makers. Gender, Material Culture and Meaning 1998

Book chapter

For several hundred years the Kalabari Ijo of Nigeria who live on islands near the equator in the Niger Delta, have imported foreign textiles and other artefacts, overland and by sea. Prestigious possessions include a variety of fabrics obtained through trade from West Africa, England and India as well as canes, hats and jewellery (often Italian coral). They use these imports to differentiate themselves from other Nigerian ethnic groups (Eicher and Erekosima 1995) and to make distinctions in age

Lantana Beads: Gender Issues in their Production and Use

Ann O’Hear

Source: Beads and Bead Makers. Gender, Material Culture and Meaning 1998

Book chapter

the chroniclers . . . tell of a very special festival of the King of Benin, which they called the ‘Festival of Corals’, on which he lent out chains of red beads which the old historians took to be ‘corals’. I got some of these, which are still considered in Benin to be of great value, and was told that they were a kind of red jasper . . . They are mostly wonderfully cut tubes, with an absolutely magnificent polish . . . in Nupeland . . . I was told that these stones, called Susi or Lantana, were

Why Do They Call it Kalabari? Cultural Authentication and the Demarcation of Ethnic Identity

Joanne B. Eicher and Tonye V.

Source: Dress and Ethnicity. Change Across Space and Time 1995

Book chapter

The Kalabari people who have lived on islands in the Delta of the Nigerian Atlantic coast for at least 1,000 years wear dress ensembles that distinguish them from their neighbors. Some items and outfits affirm their ethnic identity in ways that are often so subtle as to mislead even the “expert” outsider; an instance is a director of a prominent North American art museum in the 1980s, who refused to access an historic textile prized and identified by the Kalabari as Kalabari because he said it wa

Becoming a Bunu Bride: Bunu Ethnic Identity and Traditional Marriage Dress

Elisha P. Renne

Source: Dress and Ethnicity. Change Across Space and Time 1995

Book chapter

The Bunu people’s proximity to and historical relations with ethnic groups such as the Nupe, the Ebira, and the Igala who also reside in the confluence area of central Nigeria has led to considerable exchange of ideas, objects, and practices (Obayemi 1980; Picton 1991).For examples of these cultural interchanges, see Picton (1980) on Bunu and Ebira handwoven cloth; Renne (1990: 110) on Nupe and Bunu women’s spirit possession cults (ejinuwon); Renne (forthcoming) on Kiri chiefs’ acquiring chieftai

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