Did you know?  That 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 natural technology of certain birds,

Agbe,

Aluko,

Odidere,

Akuko,

Lekeleke

and Agbufon – Origin of and Visual Semiotics in Yoruba Textile of Adire 

In Yoruba cosmology, it is said these six birds were at the primordial time, divinely inspired and permitted to respectively use indigo, camwood, palm oil, chalk and variegated colour pigments…..

Greater Blue eared Glossy Starling
Agbe -“Greater Blue eared Glossy Starling”

 

Indigo growing and dyeing skills were taken to the Americas and Carribeans by enslaved Africans. Lucille Junkere explores these stories this September at the Chelsea College of Art in London.

 

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