NW503 – Unusual three panel men’s wrapper cloth that originates somewhere in the region of the Ebira (Igbirra) town of Okene near the confluence of the Niger and Benue rivers. Bought from an Ebira cloth vendor who gave it an Ebira name, itogede, that indicates the use of bast fibre along with cotton, – the white fibres in the warp stripes are a banana fibre bast. However this cloth does not seem to fall within the description for cloths of that group, or indeed any of the other groups, described by John Picton in his article on Ebira weaving (Picton 1980.) Nor are there any similar pieces in the group of Ebira cloths Picton collected that are now in the British Museum. Although Ebira women are known for their elaborate supplementary weft float weaving I have not seen any cloths with the simple grid like pattern of float decoration seen on this piece. However the most likely explanation is that its source is not within Okene town but elsewhere in what is a very culturally diverse area. In excellent condition and dates to circa 1920s-1950. There are no examples of this style in museum collections or published literature as far as I am aware. Hand spun indigo and white cotton and bast fibre.
Measurements: 91ins x 66 ins, 232cm x 168cm.
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