Asoke cloth is very sturdy and practical. The Yourba in Nigeria reserved this cloth for funerals, religious rituals, other formal occasions. this cloth is woven in 4-inch wide strips that vary in length. Some older Asoke cloths are characterized by their openwork or holes. It is known for supplementary inlays, which are generally made of rayon threads on background of silk cotton.
These oke fabric, (pronouced ah-SHOW-kay) is a hand loomed cloth woven by the Yoruba people. i) Alaari - a rich red so okw.ii) Sanyan - aa brown and usuakky light brown aso oke.iii) Etu - a dark blue aso oke
Aso-Oke is the the short form of Ilu Oke also known as Aso-Ofi, meaning cloth from the up-country. This fibre is woven from traditinal materials in Yorubaland, the second largest tribe in Nigeria.
Cloth weaving (Aso-Oke) started centuries ago amongst the Yoruba but predominantly amongst the Iseyin's (Oyo State), Ede (Osun State) and the Okene (Kogi State). These fibres used for weaving are said to be locally sourced or broght from neighbouring states.
However, popular types of Aso-Oke are;
the "Sanyan" (beige with white stripes) andthe "Alaari" (red). With modernization aso=oke now comes in silk and different colours. These days you can wear a customised design of Aso-oke depending on the design of your choice. It can also have more than one or two colours.
Other relatives of Aso-oke are kente, the Ghanaian genre and Akerete, for the Igbo/Calabar women. Moreover , Aso-oke is now regarded as popular attire that is considered trendy in different countries and world regions like Europe, United States, Brazil and Cuba.
This fibre is known to be more expensive than ordinary cotton materials because of the cost of input and the techniques invlolved. That is, Aso-oke involves a whole lot of preparation, such as planting of cotton, spinning, sorting, patterning and weaving.
Firstly, the planting of cotton stage prepares the cottons for usage in making the threads usable for weaving for Aso-oke. It is mostly planted during the rainy season between the month of June and July.
Spinning is the process of separating the cotton seed from the wool, and in doing this, a bo-line instrument called spindle and "Orun" in Yoruba language is used. Still on the preparation, Sorting is the process whereby the weaver separates the dirt from the wool in order to make the wool fit for use since the cotton often acts like a magnet, In other words, it easily attracts dirt.
While the patterning stage is he process of putting designs and patterns on the Aso-oke, weaving is the last stage. This is where the rolled cotton is neatly inserted inti the striker through the extrenders.
Finally, the material is now fit, ready to be worn in different styles for occasions such as coronations, festivals, engagements, weddings, naming ceremonies, burials and other important events. the beauty of the woven cloth (Aso-oke) is showcased when it is used as Aso-Ebi (agroup of people e.g. friends, families e.t.c dressed alike)
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