- Museum number
Gown (riga). Composed of 28 sections of machine woven white and cream cotton machine sewn together. The body has been created using a series of strips of machine woven cotton mimicking the traditional narrow strip form. There is a large oblong pocket covering about 1/3rd of the body panel. The gown is then decorated with extensive embroidery in dyed biscuit coloured silk. The patterns are geometric in shape and arrangement and can be found around the neck extending to a large spiral on the back of the gown. Some of the embroidered areas are lined and the sleeves and base of the gown are hemmed.
- Production date
- 1974 ((?) purchased by vendor)
Length: 144.50 centimetres
Width: 250 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: C181 (Heathcote collection number)