Featured Beaded African tunic

Discussion in 'Textiles, Needle Arts, Clothing' started by DrPam, Mar 27, 2023.

  1. DrPam

    DrPam Active Member

    Hi All-I’ve been gone for a while because we moved. And now I’m back with a question about the item in this photo…sorry, but it’s the only one I have until it gets unpacked. A friend who is moving gave it to us but had no knowledge about its origins. The length is about 3-3.5 feet and my guess at its weight is about 20 pounds. Any clues would be greatly appreciated. BFA7AB03-BBA2-418B-852C-B7F30F6B648B.jpeg
    Figtree3, reader, elarnia and 5 others like this.
  2. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    nice beadwork...
    DrPam, stracci and pearlsnblume like this.
  3. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    The masks could be an indication of its origin. @2manybooks ?:)
  4. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    or those Celtic looking knots...?
    DrPam, stracci and pearlsnblume like this.
  5. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    More like Chinese endless knots.;)
    Intertwined symbols are seen in many cultures.
  6. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    yes...of course !!
    I spoke out of turn...:sorry::sour:
    stracci likes this.
  7. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Mar 27, 2023
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  8. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    No you didn't, it was just an observation.:watching::)
    komokwa and stracci like this.
  9. evelyb30

    evelyb30 Well-Known Member

    No idea. It's a serious piece of beadwork though. It must have been specially made for something.
    Figtree3 and DrPam like this.
  10. DrPam

    DrPam Active Member

    Y’all never cease to amaze me! Do you recommend re-posting on the Tribal Arts forum?
  11. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    it's only been 6 whole hours...........:meh:
  12. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    Such beaded tunics - "ewu-ileke" - are made by specialist beadwork artists for Yoruba royalty, chiefs, and priests of the god of thunder, Shango.

    Yoruba ileke - Smithsonian.jpg

    Styles and imagery vary, but I have found 4 examples sold at auction that look like they may have been made by the same artist as yours. The first, on Worthpoint, includes an informative description. All are identified as tunics for priests of Shango. The interlace motif, based on Islamic art that is common in the region, is a protective talisman.

    Yoruba ileke Worthpoint.jpg

    Yoruba ileke 2.jpg

    Yoruba ileke 3.jpg

    Yoruba ileke 4.jpg
  13. DrPam

    DrPam Active Member

    Amazing! Thank you.
    Any Jewelry, 2manybooks and komokwa like this.
  14. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    2 good sources on Yoruba beadwork in general:

    William Fagg: Yoruba Beadwork Art of Nigeria. Rizzoli, 1980.

    Henry John Drewal & John Mason: Beads Body and Soul: Art and Light in the Yoruba Universe. UCLA, Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 1997.
    Figtree3, reader and Any Jewelry like this.
  15. DrPam

    DrPam Active Member

    I also see enough similarities to agree it looks like the same artist. Once I unwrap it I’ll have an opportunity to see the other side and interior & compare those elements as well. Thanks to everyone for the dogged research & input!
    Figtree3, reader, komokwa and 2 others like this.
  16. reader

    reader Well-Known Member

    Love this. Have a wall of Yoruba!

    Attached Files:

    Figtree3 and Any Jewelry like this.
  17. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    I hope the move went well! I moved last summer and it's a big job.
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