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Dress in the Making of African Identity: A Social and Cultural History of the Yoruba ...

Chapter 1:   Introduction
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Dress in the Making of African Identity:

Chapter 1

 Introduction

Dress and Identity in Yorubaland

By the twenty-first century, the Yoruba people were using different forms of dress. As excavated arts and other artifacts from different parts of Yorubaland have shown, some of these dresses are of great antiquity. Contemporary Yoruba sartorial culture, however, shows that some of what are regarded as Yoruba dresses today might not necessarily be indigenous to Yoruba people, as they were either borrowed and incorporated into Yoruba sartorial culture from neighbors or adapted from other peoples and cultures, especially from the seventeenth century onwards. Whether borrowed or adapted, the dress—and dressing well—are integral to both individual and collective identities of the Yoruba people.

Many Nigerians describe the Yoruba people as being highly expressive, and dress is one of the different ways through which the Yoruba people have expressed themselves. This book traces the history of dress and dress use in Yorubaland. It constructs the historical foundations as well as the social and cultural milieu in which the Yoruba people have used different materials to dress themselves. It highlights the various changes the Yoruba sartorial tradition has witnessed. This book also examines the