Kanuri Indigo Shroud


AGB177 – shroud or mortuary cloth from the Kanuri people of north eastern Nigeria

1 in stock


Question: who wears a robe with no neck opening? Answer: someone who is dead. This is a shroud or mortuary cloth from the Kanuri people of north eastern Nigeria. Tailored from narrow 4 cm width strips woven from very fine handspun cotton, then hand embroidered with the typical spiral pattern on the back and the right side of the chest before dyed a deep indigo blue black. A second layer of coloured silk embroidery frames the closed neck area. It lacks the pocket found on true robes, is open at the sides, and has two thin ties at the lower corner. Venice Lamb discussed Kanuri shroud “robes” in her book Nigerian Weaving (1980:135) but perhaps not surprisingly this is the first one I have encountered. Some questions remain. Why is it black rather than the white we would expect for a Muslim funeral? Why wasn’t it used ? Maybe someone bought it for his funeral and it somehow became misplaced. Maybe it was a cover for the actual white burial shroud. Judging from the high quality strip weave cloth it dates from around the 1950s to 1970s or perhaps earlier. In excellent odour free condition.

Measurements as shown 66 inches X 59, 167 cm X 150.

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.)