Academic journal article European Journal of Sustainable Development

An Appraisal of Traditional Woven Fabric Production in Southwestern Nigeria

Academic journal article European Journal of Sustainable Development

An Appraisal of Traditional Woven Fabric Production in Southwestern Nigeria

Article excerpt

1. Introduction.

Nigeria is an heterogeneous society with diverse cultural heritages hinged by specific traditional norms. Globally, the social compass (attitude, belief, clothing and housing style among others) of any society are built on these norms. Most physio-cultural differences across tradition are observed in housing, and clothing ornamentation. The major entity in clothing and housing is fabric which could be produced by weaving, knitting, lacing among others. Uptill date, weaving is the only accessible method of fabric production that cuts across every traditional boundary in the country and, remains an ancient craft which has stood the test of time with little foreign interference. Production techniques were built on same theme across cultures but, with different concepts. For example Aso-Oke/Ofi is peculiar to the Yorubas; Hausas is known with Kura; Akwete is for the Ibos; Kente among the Ibiras and, Andee for the Tiv. Originally, raffia and cotton were major identified consumable inputs for weaving in Nigeria. Different cultures of the nation apply traditional woven fabric (TWF) in numbers of ways, ranging from casual to ceremonial but, mostly reserved for special occasions where formal and dignified dressing is required (Oyelola, 2007).

Traditional Woven Fabric production is an integral part of Yoruba and Ibira cultures, and inherited household manual in Southwestern Nigeria. It has been in existence for ages as a means of clothing and, use for different purposes. It is popularly use as dress for social, religious and, traditional ceremonies. Makinde,et al (2009) identified that, Yoruba men used Aso-Oke in the ancient times as dress for farm work, and women use it for girdle/babies strap (oja)); wrapper (iro); head-tie (gele); blouse (buba) and, shawl (ipele/ iborun). While Amubode, (2001) confirms the importance of aso-oke as wedding gift for the bride's family in Yoruba land, it is highly valued as special gift for dignified people. It is used as aso-ebi (commemorative cloth/uniform dress during celebration) among the Yoruba people of Southwestern Nigeria. Asakitipi(2007) and Aremu (1982) specified aso-ebi as strong expression for communal, solidarity and love. In the religion sector, apart from the fact that, TWF form major bulk of accessories use in clothing masquerade( egungun), it is used by the ogboni fraternity society as sacred cloth (itagbe), likewise in decorating certain deities like ere-ibeji, osanyin, edan and shrine among others. This fabric is again applied in the construction of gberi-ode (hunter's garment with attached charms and amulets). Aso-oke is an accompany accessories in the production of certain charms inform of wristlets such as armlet (ifunpa) or waist band (ounde).

The main equipment for TWF production is loom which is available in two forms viz, vertical and horizontal loom. Ojo (2006) referred to the vertical loom as upright single heddles loom/ broadloom (used by women) and, the horizontal loom as double heddle loom (used by men) with more accessories. These materials were made locally from wood, iron, bamboo, raffia palm and calabash by carpenters, blacksmiths and weavers. The vertical loom which would produce about 38 to 51 cm wide of fabric is less sophisticated technologically than the horizontal loom which could produce about 12.7 cm wide of fabric in a single operation. Rannie (1997) specified that, efforts to modernize loom failed due to lack of proper understanding of the associated socio-cultural factors. Recently, loom (ofi) and reed (Asa) experience little modification in that, loom is now movable unlike the fixed olden day's type. According to Olutayo et al (2011), the modern reed is made from iron string and wood plank, while in the olden day it was made of raffia and palm.

Originally, fiber characteristics, yarn structures and methods of fabrication (fabric production) are major determining factors of fabric characteristics. Fabric drapes and tensile strength depends of tightness/squashed of the weave. …

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