- Museum number
Gown (riga). Composed of four sections of machine woven cream cotton machine sewn together. There is a small geometric pocket on the front body panel. The gown is then decorated with extensive embroidery in dyed biege silk. The patterns are geometric in shape and arrangement with patterns based on floral elements and can be found around the neck extending to a section of embroidery at the top of the back. The sleeves and bottom of the gown are machine hemmed.
- Production date
- December 1970 ((?) purchased by vendor)
Length: 115.50 centimetres
Width: 185 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: C60 (Heathcote collection number)