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This work represents a classic textile genre designed, woven, and worn by Igbo women in Akwete, the most influential regional center. Akwete weaver’s frequently elaborate and complex supplementary weft-float patterns are of particular interest for their variety, incorporating abstract geometric and figurative motifs. Woven on a vertical loom, this wrapper stands out for its particularly lively color scheme and for the patterns that refer to another weaving tradition, that of strip-woven bands woven on horizontal looms.
This wrapper has been hand-woven on the traditional Igbo woman’s vertical loom with machine spun cotton yarns. The cloth is created from purple, orange, red, white and green yarns. The design motifs are created through the traditional Igbo Akwete methods of supplementary weft patterning on a warp-face plain-weave ground. Here, the bright purple plain weave ground is enlivened by evenly spaced yellow vertical stripes, and the interstitial purple ground is punctuated with narrow dashes of bright color arranged in an off-set pattern of multicolor bands. This design organization imitates strip woven cloths, where narrow bands are sewn selvage to selvage, a technique popular elsewhere in West Africa.

Wrapper, Cotton, Igbo

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