Categories: Ebira Lifestyle

How to Weave the Hand-woven Ebira Traditional Cloth

Introduction

Weaving is an art that effectively illustrates the cultural heritage of Anebira (Ebira people). Ebira people are well-known all over the world for this craft. The art of weaving in Ebiraland belonged to the women and it is been passed across generations by mothers teaching it to their daughters. Women in Ebiralnad took great pride not only in being able to weave beautiful traditional cloth for their families for significant events such as festivals, rites, or funerals but also in being able to support their families with the income they earn from trading the hand-woven native clothes at the market. In Ebiraland, especially Okene, the majority of the female weavers engaged in weaving as their primary occupation because it was very lucrative when it was very high in demand.

In those days, people from all over the world traded the hand-woven Ebira traditional cloth with Ebira women because the quality and beauty were second to none. The weaving of the hand-woven requires a lot of time, as it might take about 2-3 days before a single yard of cloth can be woven, depending on the size. Of recent, modernization has taken over as there are now faster methods of weaving traditional clothes.

In the days when the trade of hand-woven Ebira traditional clothes was booming locally and globally, the Oguntoro which is the loom used for making hand-woven cloth was a very common tool in the majority of Ebira homes. In fact, we used to have this Oguntoro and other materials used in making hand-woven traditional clothes until 5-6 years back when my mom stopped weaving traditional clothes. This was the livelihood for my mom as she was very good at it. She received patronage from many people from different states and she could charge as high as N40,000 for a complete set of clothes which could take her 2-3 weeks to make.

Materials Needed for Making Hand-woven Ebira Traditional cloth

  • Ohu (Cotton)
  • Oguntoro (horizontal loom)
  • Ipechi (translation unavailable)
  • Okaha (translation unavailable)
  • Ohanse (translation unavailable)
  • Ochaha (translation unavailable)
  • Otah (translation unavailable)
  • Korofo (translation unavailable)

Process of weaving

The hand-woven cloth is known as Itinochi in the Ebira language. The hand-woven clothing traditional Ebira clothing is made by hand-spinning or interlacing a number of yarns to create a warp and weft pattern, with the weft running through the warp at an angle to create a web of fabric.

The korofo, is a hollow-like material where the cotton is first rolled on or laced before putting it on the loom. The korofo has a narrow hole that runs through it where a tiny stick known as ipechi is inserted. The weaver ensures that the ipechi perfectly fits in this hole. The weaver holds the ipechi when using the korofo to put the cotton on the loom. Before rolling or putting the cotton on the oguntoro, some set of long, light-weighted sticks known as ohanse is first arranged horizontally on the oguntoro. The Ohanse are held by a rope that runs vertically on the oguntoro by the left-hand side.

The pattern and style of the fabric to be woven are determined using the Ohanse. There is also another tiny stick that is used to separate the fabric when the weaving is ongoing. There is also Otah which is used as a measuring tool and the Okaha which is used in hitting the fabric when a cotton thread is passed through it. There is also another stick on which pure cotton is rolled. This pure cotton is run through the silk thread laced on the Oguntoro. The silk thread on the oguntoro is the warp, which runs vertically on the oguntoro. While the pure cotton thread on the other stick that runs through the silk thread horizontally at an angle is the weft. Once the weft runs through the warp, the Okaha held with the two hands of the weaver, is used to hit the weft to properly form a web of fabric. Sometimes, starch is used to make the fabric firm but this depends on the need of the client or the use of the fabric.

Conclusion

A weaver must first become proficient at rolling the thread on the korofo by holding the ipechi. The thread is first rolled on the korofo, and then it is placed on the loom with the Ohanse in between to guarantee that the front and the back are separated before the weaving process begins. The weaving starts after the silk thread has been properly positioned on the oguntoro. Then, using the required materials or equipment, the weaver begins to raise and lower the loom with two hands, until the weaving process is complete.

 

 

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