Ibo woman's woven wrapper, Akwete, West Africa
This hand-woven cloth is part of a collection of West African textiles, spindles, hand spun yarn and a thorn carving, collected by Dr C. Marion Petrie. Dr Petrie was an employee of the British Colonial Service in Nigeria and Ghana, in West Africa, between 1957 and 1966.
The cloth was woven by an Ibo woman in Akwete during the 1950's or 1960's, using a women's vertical loom with a continuous warp. It consists largely of cotton, the most commonly used material in Akwete weavings, and is decorated with rayon supplementary weft patterning, which is a distinguishing feature of Ibo Akwete weaving. While all cotton used in Akwete weaving was once hand spun and hand dyed by women, today imported dyed yarns are more common, as reflected in this cloth. Cloths like this were mainly worn by Ibo women as wrappers.
Akwete weaving is a form of textile production not practiced elsewhere in Africa. During the mid 1900s, weaving in Akwete shifted from being a part time occupation for some women, to being a full time occupation for the majority of women. Consequently, girls are taught how to weave Akwete cloths like this from a very young age .