Stories encoded in Ejiogbe the first of the 256 chapters of the Ifa divination oral literature credited the origin of patterned dyeing in various hues to Orunmila, the Yoruba deity of wisdom and divination and the Ifa exponent, who was divinely inspired to produce patterned dyed cloths using the material technology of certain birds, Agbe, Aluko, Odidere, Akuko, Lekeleke and Agbufon.

In Yoruba cosmology, these six birds were at the period of their creation at the primordial time, divinely inspired and permitted to respectively use indigo, camwood, palm oil, chalk and variegated colour pigments. The verse of Ejiogbe, in a dialogic perspectivization, is self explanatory on this.”

Ifa says it is primal and inimitable

1 I say it becomes imitable

It was inquired, which of the birds wishes to distinctively portray God’s Creative Will

They said it is Agbe, lamprotonis chalybaus, the Greater Blue-eared Glossy Starling

It was then decreed that Agbe be directed to dip its plumage in (indigo) dye.

Greater Blue eared Glossy Starling
Greater Blue eared Glossy Starling

 

 

 

5 Ifa says it is primal and inimitable

I say it becomes imitable

It was inquired, which of the birds wishes to distinctively portray God’s Creation Will

They said it is Aluko, merops nubicus, the Carmine Bee-eater Aluko was directed to put its own plumage in the camwood paste.

image
Carmine Bee Eater

 

 

 

10 Ifa says it is primal and inimitable I say it becomes imitable

It was inquired, which of the birds wishes to distinctively portray God’s Creation Will

They said it is Odidere, psittacus erithacus, the African Grey Parrot They said Odidere should put its tail feathers in the (crimson-coloured) palm oil.

image
African Grey Parrot

 

 

15 Ifa says it is primal and inimitable I say it becomes imitable

It was inquired, which of the birds wishes to distinctively portray God’s Creation Will

They said it is Lekeleke, ardeola ibis, the Cow Egret

Lekeleke was asked to dip its own plumage in the immaculate and powdery white chalk.

Cow Egret
Cow Egret

 

 

20 Ifa says it is primal and inimitable I say it becomes imitable

It was inquired, which of the birds wishes to distinctively portray God’s Creation Will

They said it is Akuko Oyongoloto, the big and majestically gaited Cock Akuko Oyongoloto was granted the privilege of donning the glittering red crown.

Cockerel
Cockerel

 

25 Ifa says it is primal and inimitable I say it becomes imitable

It was inquired, which of the birds wishes to distinctively portray God’s Creation Will

They said it is the big Agbufon, balearica pavonina, the big Black Crowned Crane Agbufon Oyongoloto was permitted to wear fluffy variegated crown.

image
Black Crowned Crane

 

 

30 It was thereafter forbidden of any other [bird(s)] to authoritatively boom and appear distinctively,

Only Opeere, microscelis amaurotis, the Brown-eared Bulbul, chirped and attempted uniqueness

And it was ordered that its tail be clipped very short

Brown Eared Bulbul
Brown Eared Bulbul

 

 

These were the priests that divine for Orunmila

When Ifa (Orunmila) was profusely weeping in desperate need of earnings

35 He was advised to offer sacrifice

He offered the prescribed sacrifice

And so whenever Okan, combretm erythrophyllum, the River Bushwillow emerges (sprouts) it comes in ornate patterns.

Red Flower Bush willow on tree, (Combretum erythrophyllum (Burchell) Sonder).
Red Flower Bush willow on tree, (Combretum erythrophyllum (Burchell) Sonder).

Both good (novel) and uniqueness shall seek me profusely 40 …

 

 

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Margaret Olugbemisola Areo (Ph.D)* and  Razaq Olatunde Rom Kalilu (Ph.D) quoted above in both Yoruba and English versions in their  Origin of and Visual Semiotics in Yoruba Textile of Adire paper where it was explained:

“the origin of Adire tradition, according to Wolff and Stanfield (1971: 9), must be sought in the context of indigo dyeing and the world of the Yoruba women who first created this special cloth over a century ago on Kijipa, the handspun handwoven cloth of the women’s upright loom.

 

 

 

 

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