C19th Silk and Indigo


Superb silk and indigo dyed cotton Yoruba women’s wrapper cloth dating from late C19th

1 in stock


NW495 – Old school Yoruba bling! If you were rich and desperate to stand out from the crowd in nineteenth century Yorubaland, this was the cloth for you. All the other ladies at an important event would be wearing dark and light striped indigo dyed cotton wrapper cloths but your own more grand piece was striped with vivid silk. Superb Yoruba women’s wrapper cloth dating from late C19th with a strong graphic pattern of warp stripes incorporating magenta trans-Saharan silk “alaari” in a very dark indigo dyed hand spun cotton ground. Narrow weft stripes in white cotton. The use of highly prized and expensive silk in these “kijiipa” wrappers was an established tradition in the C19th and at the start of the C20th, allowing wealthy women to outshine the plainer blue and white style. However today it is extremely hard to find surviving examples and the price reflects the fact that almost all those we do see have been patched or repaired. These cloths are not well represented in museum collections and published sources, reflecting their rarity. This is a particularly fine completely intact example in excellent condition. It would have been an heirloom cloth passed down from mother to daughter over several generations. It retains it’s very neat hand stitched seams throughout.

Measurements: 83ins x 68ins, 210cm x 148cm.

All items on this site are vintage. That means that they may have a few small marks or blemishes consistent with use. We will try to highlight any significant issues in the description above but in the event you are not happy with your purchase please notify us within 48 hours of receipt and you may return it for a full refund (excluding return shipping costs.)