Igbo legend tells us that weavers from thatvillage were among those to do so in the late nineteenth century. Usingimported threads in an array of vibrant colours, and inspired by cloth importsfrom England, India, and elsewhere, the legendary weaver Dada Nwakwata beganweaving designs of her invention.
Said to be the founder of weaving as it is now known in her villages, DadaNawkwata has remained a major role model for Akwete weavers, who like her claimthey can weave any cloth design set before them.
Akwete cloth refers specifically to the cloth woven in the Ndokitown of Akwete in Ukwa East local Government Area of Abia State.
The mid- to late nineteenth century, weaving grew from part-time activity thatoccupied some women, to full-time occupation in which all Akwete womenparticipated. At this period, Akwete weavers responded to the patronage ofneighboring Ijo peoples of the Niger- Delta, devising novel techniques tocreate desired patterns in new materials.
Just like most women's weaving throughout Nigeria, Akwete weaving is done on anupright frame loom with continuous warp and other
The basic Akwete cloth is usually made of cotton thread whilst the decorativepatterns and effects are added with thread of heavier texture or contrastingcolours.
The elaborately modern versions of the cloth could be made entirely of
In former times, only royal families could wear the 'Ikaki' motif, andif an ordinary person attempts to wear it, he could be sold into slavery. Theweavers claim that certain motifs and designs were revealed to them in thedreams
Materials Used For Production
The materials used in the production of Akwete cloth are as follow: Loom,heddle,beater/sword,yarn/ twine /brass spatula, rope, shuttle, wax
Women usually tie the cloth as a wrap-aroundskirt (wrapper) with a blouse of lightweight machine-made fabric. The cloth isusually woven in pairs and the Igbo women wear the two wrappers on publicoccasions, the first one tied to reach the ankle and the second one to mid-calflength.
While the Men use the fabric to sew traditional shirts popularly known as jumper,Wokor, or Etibo. These they wear over forspecial occasions. The cloth may also be woven in smaller versions that couldbe used as curtains, cushion, table, lectern, or bed covers.