Yoruba Asoke Fabric – Types, History, How to Make & Where to Buy

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Yoruba Asoke fabric is a type of handwoven textile that originated from the Yoruba people of Nigeria. It is traditionally made by men using a narrow strip loom and is known for its vibrant colors and intricate patterns.

The process of making Yoruba Asoke fabric involves weaving narrow strips of fabric together to create a wider cloth. The strips are typically made from cotton or silk and are dyed in various colors using natural dyes. The weaver then combines the strips to create a larger piece of fabric, often incorporating intricate designs and motifs.

Asoke fabric is commonly used for ceremonial dress and is considered a symbol of status and wealth in Yoruba culture. It is often worn by brides and grooms during traditional weddings, as well as by chiefs and other important members of the community during important events and ceremonies.

In recent years, Yoruba Asoke fabric has gained popularity outside of Nigeria and is now used in contemporary fashion and home decor.

Types of Aso Oke

There are several types of Aso Oke fabrics that are traditionally made by the Yoruba people of Nigeria. Here are some of the most common types:

Etu: Etu is a type of Aso Oke fabric that is made from silk or cotton and is known for its soft texture. It is often dyed in earthy tones and is commonly used for traditional ceremonies and celebrations.

Sanyan: Sanyan is a type of Aso Oke fabric that is made from handwoven raw silk. It is known for its rough texture and is usually dyed in a light brown or beige color.

Alari: Alari is a type of Aso Oke fabric that is made from silk or cotton and is characterized by its metallic appearance. It is often dyed in bright colors and is commonly used for ceremonial wear.

Eleduwe: Eleduwe is a type of Aso Oke fabric that is made from cotton and is known for its softness and durability. It is often used for everyday clothing and is usually dyed in bright colors.

Ofi: Ofi is a type of Aso Oke fabric that is made from the fibers of the African wild pineapple. It is known for its durability and is often used for clothing, bags, and other accessories. Ofi is typically dyed in earthy tones.

These are just a few examples of the many types of Aso Oke fabrics that are made by the Yoruba people. Each type of fabric has its own unique characteristics and is often used for specific occasions and purposes.

Yoruba Asoke Fabric

How to make Aso oke

Making Aso Oke is a traditional art form that requires skill and expertise. Here are the general steps involved in making Aso Oke fabric:

Fiber Preparation: The first step in making Aso Oke is to prepare the fibers. The fibers are typically cotton, silk, or a combination of both. The fibers are cleaned, carded, and spun into yarn.

Dyeing: The next step is to dye the yarn. Aso Oke is known for its vibrant colors, which are achieved through the use of natural dyes. The yarn is typically boiled with natural dye to achieve the desired color.

Warping: The dyed yarn is then wound onto a warping board to create the warp threads. The threads are wound in a specific pattern to create the desired design.

Weaving: The warp threads are then transferred to the loom for weaving. A narrow-strip loom is typically used for Aso Oke weaving. The weaver then weaves the weft threads in a specific pattern to create the desired design.

Finishing: Once the weaving is complete, the fabric is taken off the loom and the edges are finished. The fabric may be washed and starched to give it the desired texture and appearance.

Each step in the Aso Oke-making process requires skill and attention to detail. The resulting fabric is a beautiful and durable textile that is an important part of Yoruba culture.

Aso Oke Fabric Price in Nigeria

The price of Aso Oke fabric in Nigeria can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the quality of the fabric, the intricacy of the design, and the location where it is purchased.

On average, a simple Aso Oke fabric with a basic design can cost around 5,000 to 10,000 Nigerian Naira (approximately 13 to 26 US dollars) per yard. However, more complex designs, finer quality materials such as silk, and fabrics with metallic threads can cost more, with some Aso Oke fabrics costing up to 50,000 Nigerian Naira (approximately 130 US dollars) or more per yard.

It is worth noting that Aso Oke fabrics are often sold in yards rather than in meters or feet, which is a common measurement for fabrics in some other countries. Additionally, prices can vary depending on the location of the seller, with Aso Oke fabrics in urban areas generally being more expensive than in rural areas. It is always best to compare prices from different sellers and to negotiate when possible.

What is Aso Oke fabric in English?

Aso Oke fabric is a type of traditional hand-woven textile that originates from the Yoruba people of Nigeria. The term “Aso Oke” translates to “top cloth” in English, as it is often used to refer to the cloth worn by royalty and other important members of Yoruba society.

The fabric is characterized by its vibrant colors and intricate designs, which are achieved through the use of natural dyes and a narrow-strip loom. Aso Oke fabric is used for a variety of purposes, including ceremonial wear, home decor, and fashion.

What is the History of Aso Oke Fabric?

Aso Oke fabric has a rich and storied history that dates back to pre-colonial times in Nigeria. The fabric is closely associated with the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria, who are known for their artistic and cultural traditions. Here is a brief overview of the history of Aso Oke fabric:

Origins: The exact origins of Aso Oke fabric are unknown, but it is believed to have been created by Yoruba weavers in the pre-colonial era. The fabric was originally made for royalty and other important members of Yoruba society.

Symbolism: Aso Oke fabric is rich in symbolism and is used to convey important messages about the wearer’s social status, lineage, and cultural identity. Different colors and designs are associated with different occasions and ceremonies.

Colonial Era: During the colonial era, Aso Oke fabric became less popular as western clothing and textiles became more widely available. However, it experienced a resurgence in popularity during the 1950s and 1960s as Nigeria gained independence.

Contemporary Use: Today, Aso Oke fabric is used for a variety of purposes, including ceremonial wear, fashion, and home decor. It is also exported to other countries and has gained international recognition as a symbol of Nigerian cultural heritage.

Throughout its history, Aso Oke fabric has been an important part of Yoruba culture and continues to be an important symbol of identity and tradition.

Where can weaving of Aso-Oke be found in Nigeria?

The weaving of Aso Oke fabric is a traditional art form that is practiced by skilled weavers in different parts of Nigeria, particularly among the Yoruba people who are known for their mastery of this craft. Here are some of the places where the weaving of Aso Oke fabric can be found in Nigeria:

Iseyin, Oyo State: Iseyin is known as the home of Aso Oke weaving in Nigeria, and it has a long tradition of producing high-quality Aso Oke fabrics. The town is home to many skilled weavers who use traditional narrow-strip looms to create intricate designs.

Ede, Osun State: Ede is another town in southwestern Nigeria that is known for its Aso Oke weaving tradition. The town has a long history of producing Aso Oke fabrics, and it is known for its use of natural dyes and intricate designs.

Okene, Kogi State: Okene is a town in central Nigeria that is also known for its Aso Oke weaving tradition. The town has a large community of weavers who produce a range of Aso Oke fabrics using traditional techniques.

Kogi, Kogi State: Kogi is a town in central Nigeria that is also known for its Aso Oke weaving tradition. The town has a long history of producing Aso Oke fabrics, and it is known for its use of natural dyes and bold designs.

In addition to these places, there are many other communities in Nigeria where Aso Oke weaving is practiced. Visitors to Nigeria can often find Aso Oke fabrics for sale in markets and shops throughout the country.

What is the difference between Aso-Oke and Aso Ofi?

Aso-Oke and Aso-Ofi are both types of handwoven fabrics that are indigenous to the Yoruba people of Nigeria. While they share some similarities, there are also some key differences between the two fabrics.

Origin: Aso-Oke fabric is primarily produced by the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria, while Aso-Ofi fabric is more commonly associated with the Edo and Delta states in the southern part of Nigeria.

Weaving technique: Aso-Oke fabric is woven using a narrow-strip loom, which creates a tight, dense fabric that is ideal for ceremonial wear and fashion. Aso-Ofi fabric, on the other hand, is woven using a broader loom, which produces a wider, more open fabric that is used primarily for home decor and utilitarian purposes.

Design: Aso-Oke fabrics are known for their intricate, multi-colored designs that are achieved through the use of natural dyes and a variety of weaving techniques. Aso-Ofi fabrics, by contrast, are typically more subdued in color and design, with a focus on simple, geometric patterns and textures.

Use: Aso-Oke fabric is traditionally used for ceremonial wear, fashion, and other special occasions, while Aso-Ofi fabric is used primarily for home decor, such as tablecloths, bedspreads, and wall hangings.

Overall, both Aso-Oke and Aso-Ofi fabrics are important cultural artifacts in Nigeria and are revered for their beauty, durability, and cultural significance. While there are some differences between the two fabrics, both are valuable expressions of Yoruba and Nigerian cultural heritage.

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What is the difference between Aso-Oke and Aso Ebi?

Aso-Oke and Aso Ebi are two terms that are commonly associated with Nigerian traditional attire. While they may seem similar, there are some key differences between the two.

Material: Aso-Oke refers specifically to a type of handwoven fabric that is indigenous to the Yoruba people of Nigeria. Aso Ebi, on the other hand, refers to a group of people who are wearing matching or coordinated outfits made from any type of fabric, including Aso-Oke.

Purpose: Aso-Oke is typically used for ceremonial wear, such as weddings, funerals, and other special occasions. Aso Ebi, on the other hand, is worn by a group of people who are attending the same event as a way of showing solidarity and support for the person or people being celebrated.

Design: Aso-Oke fabrics are known for their intricate designs and bold colors, which are often specific to the occasion or the person wearing the fabric. Aso Ebi outfits, by contrast, may or may not be made from Aso-Oke fabric, and the design and color are typically chosen by the event organizer or the person being celebrated.

Access: Aso-Oke fabric is typically more expensive than other types of fabric, and it may not be accessible to everyone. Aso Ebi, on the other hand, is designed to be accessible to a larger group of people, and the cost and type of fabric used can be adjusted to suit the budget and preferences of the group.

Overall, while Aso-Oke and Aso Ebi may be used together in traditional Nigerian attire, they serve different purposes and have different meanings. Aso-Oke is a specific type of fabric, while Aso Ebi refers to a group of people wearing coordinated outfits.

Can we use Cotton to Produce Aso-Oke?

Yes, cotton is one of the main fibers that can be used to produce Aso-Oke fabric. Aso-Oke is a type of handwoven fabric that is indigenous to the Yoruba people of Nigeria. It is traditionally made using locally grown cotton and silk fibers that are hand-spun, hand-dyed, and handwoven into strips of fabric that are then sewn together to create larger pieces.

The cotton used for Aso-Oke is typically a long-staple cotton that is well-suited for hand weaving, such as the local cotton varieties grown in Nigeria. Cotton fibers are often combined with silk fibers to create a fabric that is strong, durable, and has a luxurious sheen.

In recent years, Aso-Oke has become increasingly popular for use in contemporary fashion and design, and cotton is still one of the primary fibers used in its production. While other fibers such as rayon or polyester may be used to make Aso-Oke, traditional handwoven Aso-Oke is typically made with natural fibers like cotton and silk.

Can we use Cotton to Produce Aso-Oke?

Yes, cotton is one of the primary fibers used to make Aso-Oke fabric. Aso-Oke is a type of handwoven fabric that is indigenous to the Yoruba people of Nigeria, and it is traditionally made using locally grown cotton and silk fibers that are hand-spun, hand-dyed, and handwoven into strips of fabric that are then sewn together to create larger pieces.

Cotton is a popular choice for making Aso-Oke because it is a durable and breathable fiber that is well-suited for

Can Aso-Oke be Washed?

Yes, Aso-Oke can be washed, but it requires special care to avoid damaging the fabric. Aso-Oke is a delicate handwoven fabric that is typically made from natural fibers such as cotton and silk. To ensure that the fabric retains its shape, color, and texture after washing, it is important to follow the recommended care instructions.

Here are some general guidelines for washing Aso-Oke:

Check the care label: Before washing Aso-Oke, check the care label for any specific instructions or recommendations from the manufacturer.

Hand wash: Aso-Oke should be washed by hand in cold or lukewarm water using a mild detergent. Avoid using hot water or bleach, as this can damage the fabric.

Gently wash: Gently agitate the fabric in the water, but do not wring, twist or scrub the fabric, as this can cause the fibers to stretch or become misshapen.

Rinse thoroughly: Rinse the fabric thoroughly with clean water until all soap residue is removed.

Air dry: Do not machine dry or wring the fabric. Instead, gently press out any excess water, reshape the fabric, and then lay it flat to dry in a shaded area.

Iron carefully: If necessary, iron the Aso-Oke on a low heat setting with a pressing cloth to protect the fabric.

By following these guidelines, you can help ensure that your Aso-Oke fabric remains in good condition and retains its unique texture and color for many years to come.

Where to buy Aso Oke Fabric for Sale

Aso-Oke fabric can be purchased in Nigeria and other parts of the world from various local and online stores. Here are some places where you can buy Aso-Oke fabric for sale:

Local markets in Nigeria: Aso-Oke fabric can be found in many local markets across Nigeria, especially in the southwest region where it is traditionally woven. Some popular markets include the Balogun Market and Idumota Market in Lagos, and the Bodija Market and Oja Oba Market in Ibadan.

Online stores: There are many online stores that sell Aso-Oke fabric, such as Etsy, Jumia, Konga, and Amazon. You can also find Aso-Oke fabric on various African fashion and textile websites.

Local fabric stores: Many fabric stores in Nigeria and other parts of the world sell Aso-Oke fabric. You can search for local fabric stores in your area and inquire if they carry Aso-Oke fabric.

Aso-Oke weavers: You can also purchase Aso-Oke fabric directly from the weavers who produce it. Many weavers have their own stores or workshops where they sell their handmade Aso-Oke fabrics.

When purchasing Aso-Oke fabric, it is important to pay attention to the quality, texture, and color of the fabric. Aso-Oke fabric comes in a wide range of colors and patterns, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences.


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