Thursday 6 October 2022

A Weaver working on her loom in Lagos: Circa:1910’s

Before colonial contacts, four types of loom existed in the Yoruba traditional weaving scene (Williams, 1998; Lamb and Lamb, 1976; Fadipe, 1970; Ojo, 1966; Dodwell, 1955). Among the people of Ado-Ekiti there existed the “bush loom” ( ofi oko) which was found to be ideal for light weaving.

The twilling loom (ofi elejo) was agreed to have existed among the people of Ilorin which was said to have shared the same properties with that of Ado-Ekiti. The traditional strip loom was found among the people of Iseyin, Oyo, Saki, Ibadan, Ede, Abeokuta and other former Oyo province (Williams, 1998; Lamb and Lamb, 1976; Dodwell, 1955).

The fourth type of loom that existed before colonial contact is the vertical loom, the construction and operation of which was said to be the same in all Yoruba communities. This type of loom is particularly suitable for weaving kijipa, itagbe, oja for example. Of particular interest is the fact that various looms in the Yoruba societies reflect environmental and cultural adaptation and the ability to develop a range of choices suitable for products’ manufacturing in the industry.

The Yorubas also categorized aso-oke used for rights and ceremonies. Those used for such occasions are called the aso alaro group of cloths (Lamb and Lamb, 1973).These are made from hand spun cotton which has been dyed with indigo, with, perhaps, warp patterns in varying blue shades and in the case of marriage some red warps as well ( Williams, 1998). Alaro cloths have neither holes nor inlays patterns; they are often beaten to give them glossy appearance (Lamb and Holmes, 1980).

The red pattern in aso-alaro for marriage reflects on the colourful environment that surrounds marriage in Yorubaland. Thus, aso-oke plays an important role in marriage ceremonies that one should not be supprised to find a great variety of aso alaro amidst marriage ceremony. It is adequately important to note that the use of alaro cloth for marriage expresses celebration of affluence and the readiness to take the responsibilities of household and family. 

1 comment:

  1. Good article an excellent way to articulate. Keep it up


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