|Type:||Tools & Equipment|
|Local Name:||adire stencil|
|Place Made:||Africa: West Africa, Nigeria|
|Period:||Mid to late 20th century|
|Dimensions:||L 51.5 cm x W 33.5 cm|
|Credit:||Gift of Susan E. Barkley|
The Yoruba people of Nigeria have a long history as skilled textile artisans. In the early 20th century, the Yoruba developed an ingenious way to reuse sheet metals, which had arrived in Nigeria from the Far East as the linings of tea chests. Although stitched- and tied-resist adire cloth was traditionally produced by women, it was the men who cut the stencils from the metal sheets. A thick paste of yam or cassava flour is pushed through the holes in the stencil onto cotton, which is immersed in a vat of indigo dye to turn it blue. When the paste is removed, the covered areas emerge as a lighter pattern against the darker background. The resulting indigo cloth, dyed with cassava paste, is called adire eleko.