- Museum number
Adire cloth: woman's: composed of two strips of plain weave machine woven cotton machine sewn together with machine sewn hems. The cloth is decorated by dividing the cloth into defined squares which are subsequently decorated using geometric shapes and natural motifs using the starch resist method. The cloth is known as Olokun “goddess of the sea and wealth.” There are 22 designs, both representational and decorative on each half of the cloth (see comment). The maker has signed the textile on the hem.
Length: 196 centimetres
Width: 176 centimetres
- Curator's comments
(LaGamma and C. Giuntini, 2008)
‘The repertory motifs drawn upon this work is identified with a genre known as Olokun, which is the name of the deity of the sea and of wealth. The iconography is also known as ‘life is sweet.’ It is associated with bounty and prosperity, delivered through trade. While individual freehand executions vary in style, the imagery of the ten large squares follows and established prototype. The vocabulary of exacting motifs …in these dense compositions is passed down from mother to daughter’ (LaGamma and C. Giuntini, 2008. The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design Without End. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: New York).
Part of the collection made by Jane Barbour of Adire, indigo resist-dyed cloths, made by the Yoruba in Nigeria (see Af1971,35.1).
Register Entry by John Picton:
Olokun “goddess of the sea and wealth”. Purchased in Oje market Ibadan, March 1971. Some of the patterns are decorative and some are representational. Some of these are:
Row 2: Square 1: Wire
: Square 3 (small square at right): Scorpian (or crocodile) fish, two birds and ?
Row 3: Square 1: Sticks
: Square 2: Spinning toys
: Square 3: Slave shackles, snake, etc
Row 4: Square 2: four legged stool
Row 5: Square 1: beleke “dividing into pieces”
: Square 3: chameleon, scorpion, lizard, snake
Row 6: Square 1: Umbrella
: Square 2: Fig leaves
: Square 3: Koran board and forks
Row 7: Rectangle 1: legs of a paralysed man
Row 7: Rectangle 3: comb
NB The wire pattern does not appear on the left hand side of the cloth (it should be at the bottom – the designs are repeated upside down). It is replaced by a tortoise with its shell, and the decorative pattern in the long rectangle next to it is also different.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2008-2009 29 Sep-05 Apr, New York, Metropolitan Museum, The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design Without End
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number