Silk and Cotton Openwork Shawl

Unique nineteenth century Yoruba shawl

SOLD – displayed for information purposes only. Feel free to contact us if you are interested in a similar cloth.


AS596 – Unique nineteenth century shawl with narrow strips woven almost entirely from prestigious hand spun cochineal dyed “waste” silk alaari from the trans-Saharan caravan trade, alternated with strips of pale green industrially spun cotton decorated with silk extra weft float motifs and very fine openwork. In the C19th machine spun thread was a scarce luxury import in Nigeria and its use here shows it as an equally rare and prestige material as the expensive alaari silk. The openwork is a primary design focus here, with a contrast between blocks of large holes and blocks or triangles of much smaller ones. The silk float patterns have worn away from use in some areas leaving only a shadow outline behind. No similar examples are known, but we can note that the combination of green with the “red” silk seems to have been particularly appreciated from it’s use in male robes of the same period. Apart from the wear of float patterns already noted this cloth is in excellent condition.

Measurement: 62 inches x 29 ins, 158cm x 74cm

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.)