As you know I am always excited by really obscure Nigerian cloths so I am pleased to share this one. It’s a wedding cloth called “eleya” (the general Yoruba term for woven openwork) from a small subgroup of the Igbomina Yoruba east of Ilorin.
Woven from thick local hand spun indigo dyed cotton in two panels by a woman weaver it has a design of woven holes in rows and triangles along the lower edge of the wrapper cloth. A single lighter line (done by weaving a stripe with a thicker thread that doesn’t pick up the dye as well), separates the openwork from two rows of weft float motifs that are simplified versions of the “Koran writing board” pattern. The whole cloth is a beautiful intense indigo colour. Dates from circa 1930-1950 and is in excellent condition. Measurements 81 1/2 inches x 63 1/2, 207 cm x 161.
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