- Museum number
Gown (riga 'yar madaka') large oblong body with slightly flared sleeves composed of 35 segments of machine woven damask bleached white sewn together. The front of the gown has the traditional two knife pattern around the neck but the rest of the front body panel is decorated with spirals and blocks of geometric embroidery
The back of the garment is also heavily decorated with a large embroidered spiral.
All of the decoration both front and back, is in varying shades of dyed beige silk.
The sleeves are hemmed and the base of the garment is unhemmed.
- Production date
- 31 October 1971 ((?)purchased by vendor)
Length: 141 centimetres
Width: 241 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Voluminous gowns, known as riga, are worn by Muslim men in northern Nigeria, especially among the Hausa and Nupe people. The gowns are notable for their often lavish silk (or cotton) embroidery around the left neck and chest area (over a large pocket) which sometimes continues onto the back of the gown. These elaborate designs, worked by male craftsmen, are named. The most popular and common motif is the 'aska takwas', eight knives. The gowns are composed of narrow strips of cloth, the most prestigious and expensive using silk, sewn together to form this characteristic wide-sleeved garment.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- 2008 (8 September)
- Acquisition notes
- This collection was made over a ten year period in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the vendor and collector, Dr David Heathcote, was Head of Art History at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, northern Nigeria. His PhD research focused on the study of Hausa embroidered dress; this collection was formed as a result of his extensive field research.
This gown was purchased for 5 naira (£2.15.0) on 21 March 1970 at the market in the village of Sabon Gari, just outside Zaria.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: C86 (Heathcote collection number)