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Fragment (Nigeria)

This is a Fragment. It is dated before 1937 and we acquired it in 1969. Its medium is cotton and its technique is hand-loomed plain weave embroidered in chain, buttonhole, and couching stitches. It is a part of the Textiles department.

This exquisite embroidery is a fragment of a man’s Hausa or Nupe riga robe. The design is composed almost entirely of eyelet stitches, giving a densely textured appearance. The designs are drawn by Islamic scholars, and stitched by specialist embroiderers. The motifs are largely associated with spiritual protection, and include the “eight knives”pattern and the eight-pointed star.

The foundation fabric is of a high-status type known as etu, woven from locally-grown cotton and dyed deep indigo blue with a fine, small-scale check of undyed cotton. It is woven on a man’s narrow loom—seventeen strips are joined together to form this small fragment.

This object was donated by Alan L. Wolfe. It is credited Gift of Alan L. Wolfe.

  • Robe
  • alaari (waste silk), cotton.
  • Museum purchase through gift of Paul F. Walter and from General Acquisitions....
  • 2015-17-1

Its dimensions are

H x W: 46.4 x 67.3 cm (18 1/4 x 26 1/2 in.)

Cite this object as

Fragment (Nigeria); cotton; H x W: 46.4 x 67.3 cm (18 1/4 x 26 1/2 in.); Gift of Alan L. Wolfe; 1969-50-17

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Fragment (Nigeria) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=29 May 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>