Adesima Adeyemi, from Ijebu-Ife. Yoruba peoples, Nigeria.
Adesina Adeyemi, from Ijebu-Ife, is dressed in his typical attire as head of the reformed oshugbo fraternity. It consists of an iborun-nla wrapper covering his body and two itagbe, one on his left shoulder (bearing the initials of the fraternity) and the other on his head. Elsewhere in Yorubaland, members of oshugbo (ogboni) tend not to use Ijebu woven aso olona as standard attire. However, cloths bearing identical patterns to aso olona are found in cloth collections among Ijo groups living at the eastern end of the Niger Delta proper, more than 100 miles from Ijebuland. Trade seems to have been the impetus for this spread. The Ijebu Yoruba have always been known to be active traders of cloth. European merchant accounts from the early 19th century mention “jaboo” cloths traded into the delta region. Aso olona may well have been among the cloths transported in this fashion.
Photo and caption by Lisa Aronson
(Lisa Aronson is a devoted scholar of African art history, with particular expertise in the area of textiles. She has done extensive field research in Nigeria (where she lived for almost two years), Ivory Coast (during four separate visits), and most recently, Ghana. Her research and writing has focused mainly on two areas of inquiry, the impact of trade and colonialism on African textile production and issues of gender in African art. At present, she is completing her book titled The Weaving of History in Southeastern Nigeria from 1800 to the Present.)