AGB107 – Superb and extremely rare C19th white hand spun cotton agbada robe with exceptionally fine embroidery. The white hand spun cotton used to weave the narrow 4cm width strips that make up this robe is among the highest quality, tightest spun fibres I have seen on a Nigerian textile and the embroidery, in both beige silk and white cotton, is incredibly precise and well executed, both signs of an important and expensive commission from a wealthy, perhaps royal, patron on which no expense of cost or time was spared. In the body of the robe the strips of cloth are folded double lengthwise before being tailored, giving a thicker, padded, effect, that is quite a rare feature. White cloth was particularly associated with Islamic notions of purity and suitable for wear by high ranking clerics, Muslim rulers and chiefs, and on festival days. It was called fari in Hausa and fuu in Yoruba. Although more basic white robes were quite common amongst the Hausa and northern Yoruba we find very few early examples, and in terms of quality and age this piece is exceptional. At some point a few decades ago this robe was “refurbished” for continued wear – this involved reinforcing some worn and weak areas hand embroidered ‘patches’ executed in white silk, but quite crude in comparison with the original embroidery – this is most apparent in an area at the left of the neck opening. At the same time the hems on the sleeves were re-sewn by machine. Otherwise the robe is in good condition with only minor faint staining.
Measurements: 107 inches width X 52 ins, 272cm x 132
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.)