Robe (detail), made in Nigeria, 1870-1899
Cotton, embroidered with silk
This is a detail from a robe on which the embroidered decoration is traditionally placed on a large pocket that covers the left breast. In this example the design was drawn in brown ink and then embroidered with green silk. The clearest motifs are those decorated with massed eyelets, each small hole oversewn with silk to prevent fraying and producing a flat, pockmarked surface. The horizontal band across the top of the pocket and the five ‘daggers’ hanging from it are worked in pattern darning, with the silk thread forming a flat pattern of small diamonds. This design is not immediately obvious but shows more clearly with the interplay of light when worn. At the corner of the pocket is a curved insertion that secures and reinforces the part most vulnerable to wear and tear.
courtesy V&A Museum, Gt. Britain