Weaving in Southern Nigeria

by Lisa Aronson
Skidmore College

Textiles arranged on a bed for a burial. Ijo peoples, Nigeria. Photo by Lisa Aronson.

 

Among the Kalabari Ijo, injiri is among the many categories of cloths used to adorn the walls of rooms in which the dead are laid in state during the wake. This tradition, known as ede, involves decorating beds with vast quantities and varieties of cloth. Each bed (as many as six or more for high-ranking individuals) is decorated with a different variety of fabric, each type arranged with an impressive degree of artistry and precision. The body will be placed on top of each bed for a designated period of time before being buried. This tradition is the Kalabari's way of honoring the dead by expressing their status and wealth as well as their connectedness with the spiritual realm.