Adire Oniko

This is an adire oniko cloth that was made by a Yoruba artist in Nigeria in the mid-20th century out of cotton and indigo dye. Adire cloths are cotton cloths resist-dyed with indigo in one of two ways: adire oniko (resist dyeing with raffia ties) or adire alabare (resist dyeing using stitches).

To make adire oniko like this example, an artist would fold a large cotton cloth in half and then use raffia ties to prevent some sections of the cloth from absorbing any color in the dye bath. Artists would use small stones and seeds in addition to these raffia ties to make larger or smaller circles of resist on the textile. Once the resist pattern has been set, the artist would dip the cloth into an indigo dye bath. The more dips, the darker the indigo color on the cloth would be. Once the artist had the shade of blue she desired and the cloth had dried, she would remove the stones and raffia ties to reveal the finished pattern. This pattern would have been mirrored on the other half of the folded cloth, so the artist could cut it in half to have two identical cloths.

Adire had mostly gone out of style in the 1930’s, but it regained its popularity for a brief time in the 1960’s when it was used to make men’s shirts as well as women’s wrappers.

Circa: Mid 20th century

Origin: Nigeria

Material: Cotton

Condition: Excellent

Dimensions: 75" x 53"

Inventory number: TX4066



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