Adire Cloths from Nigeria

Adire is the name given to indigo dyed cloth produced by Yoruba women of south western Nigeria using a variety of resist dye techniques. Adire translates as tie and dye, and the earliest cloths were probably simple tied designs on locally-woven hand-spun cotton cloth much like those still produced in Mali. In the early decades of the twentieth century however new techniques of resist dyeing were developed, most notably the practice of hand-painting designs on the cloth with a cassava starch paste prior to dyeing. This was known as adire eleko. Today very little (arguably none) good quality adire is still being made in Nigeria and most surviving old pieces have already disappeared into museum and private collections in the USA and Europe.

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