AS566. Rare and unusual Yoruba woman’s aso oke wrapper cloth, nineteenth century. Although this cloth is within the broad parameters of its genre, in which a simple warp stripe patterned strip alternates with strips on which supplementary weft float motifs in magenta silk alaari are set on a blue and white check background, here the weaver has diverged from the standard format by placing the check strips in pairs, as well as by the use of ikat in the warp striped designs. The only similar use of paired strips I have seen is in another piece I collected a few years ago that is now in the Metropolitan Museum and online here. Although the Met piece has openwork strips rather than ikat it shares with this cloth the use of unusually thick silk in the float motifs and together with some similar designs that raises the possibility that they are the work of the same weaver. As is often the case on early examples of this type the weaver has played around with the basic rectangle and arrow head shape of the “Koran board” motif weft float, elaborating variations in the design. Twentieth century examples were more regular in their weft patterning, as well as using substitutes for the silk obtained across the Sahara. Today Yoruba elders call this type of cloth “omolangidi” after a small doll like sculpture also modelled on the Koran board shape. Condition is excellent.
Measurements: 64 inches x 51, 162cm x 130.
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