NW551 – Rare bast fibre prestige wrapper for titled woman, Somorika, Nigeria, Mid C20th. Bast fibre and hand spun cotton. Woven by a woman in two panels joined at the centre on an upright single heddle loom. The white fibres of this elegant cloth are not cotton but a bast fibre called ebase that was obtained from a tree bark by soaking, pounding in a mortar to separate the fibres, then spinning by hand. Once probably quite widespread in the area of northern Edo speakers and Ebira just south of the Niger/Benue confluence, the use of this fibre survived until recently only in the remote rocky village of Somorika in the hills above the town of Igara. Cloths like this one are worn as signs of high status by elder women in the village, as shown in the photo. (note that this photo has been copied online from my blog to illustrate the so-called “Ibo Women’s War” in the 1930s but is actually from a chief’s house in Somorika, circa 1960s.) Condition is excellent.
Measurements: 78 inches x 54, 198 cm x 138.
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.)