Fine early twentieth century indigo Ndop cloth made in Wukari, Nigeria for trade to the Grassfields region of western Cameroon. Ndop were made by stitching lengths of tightly coiled raffia rope to one surface of a plain white narrow strip weave cloth, dyeing the cloth in indigo, then carefully unpicking the stitches and removing the raffia to leave a white pattern against the blue ground. There are two types, an older form, once made in the town of Wukari in Nigeria that have quite complex and varied designs, and a more simple style made until recently in Cameroon itself. In Wukari the local Jukun court and chief’s used the cloths in ways that are not yet properly documented, but most were traded across the border to Cameroon. There they were regarded as sacred cloths closely associated with chiefly performance and power, used in royal rituals, as masquerade costumes, and as backdrops for important events including funerals. Ndop are quite loosely woven originally, the fabric is further weakened by removing the raffia stitches, and In use over many decades they were often resewn, mixed with red wool borders, patched and re-worked, with bits from several worn out textiles joined together for further use or more recently for resale. Its unusual to find a surviving cloth like this that, although quite worn, retains the original layout and design conception. Many of the stitches that joined the strips have come loose over the years and have been resewn by different hands.
Measurements: 130 inches x 76, 330 cm x 193
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.)