Robe Item Number: Cb82 from the MOA: University of British Columbia


White robe with light brown embroidery. The man’s robe is made of plain weave cotton cloth, with wide strips sewn together to give desired width. The front and back panels are sewn together along shoulder line, leaving an angled opening for the neck. The panels are also sewn at the bottom corners, narrowing the leg opening. The front and back are embroidered in light brown cotton. The design on the front is a complex pattern of needles, palm leaves, cartouches and knots, with large spiral circles on the right shoulder. The design on the back is a pair of spiral circles enclosing a complex rounded motif. The hem facing is red, black and white cotton.

History Of Use

Typical Hausa style robe in embroidered white cotton cloth. The extent of the embroidery indicates the prosperity of the wearer. The strips of cloth are woven by men on special men's looms and garments are generally tailored and embroidered by men as well. The design motifs, 'Dagi knots', etc. and the style and cut of the clothing reflect Islamic influence long established trade between North and West African cultures.

Iconographic Meaning

The complex embroidery motifs have Islamic significance. These patterns are also seen in architecture, etc. While patterns are in some sense traditional, they may have been specifically drawn out by Koranic scholars for particular use.

Cultural Context

Worn by a man.