What is Igbo traditional clothing?

How did the Igbo tribe look before colonization? What were their traditional clothes in the last century? Read the article to learn the most interesting facts about their looks.

Igbo clothing styles

Igbo clothing styles is a very interesting theme for everyone who is fond of history and culture. It is very unusual and various. Let’s learn about Igbo and their traditional dresses.

Igbo are one of the largest and most influential ethnic groups in Nigeria. Due to the consequences of migration and a transatlantic slave trade, descendants of ethnic groups of Igbo have settled in such countries as Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, and also outside Africa. Their exact number outside Africa is unknown, but today many Afro-Americans and people of Afro-Caribbean origin are Igbo. In rural areas, Igbo generally are farmers. The most important tuberous culture in African places of residence of Igbo is yam. Celebrations in honor of harvesting of yam take place annually. Other irreplaceable crop is cassava.

Igbo clothing postcolonial

Igbo clothing postcolonial

Before British colonization, Igbo were politically fragmented groups. There were changes in culture, for example, in art styles, clothes and religious practice. That's why Igbo clothing before colonization and after it differ. Subgroups of people of Igbo were formed on clans, childbirth, and village or on language criteria, for example, on dialect. Modern dresses have resulted from the European influence in Nigeria, in particular in East part of it, during colonialism where most of people of Igbo have begun to wear tops because of actions of Catholic missionaries who definitely didn't love a naked breast.

READ ALSO: What is popular Igbo food?

Igbo clothing before colonization

Igbo clothing traditional

To the middle of the 20th century, the strong feeling of national identity has developed at Igbo. Some conflicts with other Nigerian nationalities have led to the fact that Igbo became the dominating ethnic group in East Nigeria. That has left Nigeria for creation of independent states that has led to a Civil war in Nigeria. In this regard, Igbo clothing began to differ from traditional Nigerian clothes.

Igbo tribe clothing

For today, Igbo clothing and appearance are the following: men have a wide spacious cape over a shirt. Women wear jackets, and the piece of matter around hips serving as a skirt. Also European clothes are widespread, especially in the cities.

Igbo clothing traditional

Igbo women's clothing

Igbo clothing culture among a woman was quite unusual. Several decades ago the woman of Igbo were carrying huge plates on anklebones, which were very fashionable at that time. As a skirt, they wrapped around themselves a piece of fabric and put on a kerchief. The clothes on upper body weren't widespread, and on body of woman it was possible to notice the mbubu marks, which demonstrate that the woman was already pregnant.

Huge plates on anklebones are put on consciously to provide to woman the corresponding gait. According to Igbo, it looked very attractively. At that time, girls were delighted with them and effect, which they had on men. Many fashionable young girls from Igbo even slept, putting the plates on legs. Besides, a breast covering was additional and optional desire in traditional society Igbo. Girls and women could put on tops, but they might not do it. It was completely at the personal discretion. Public display of breast wasn't condemned. Girls looked thus in 1922. Most of people of Igbo don't know that it is a real traditional Igbo dress because they don't teach children of history of their ancestors at school. Actually, the new generation of Igbo doesn't know what occurred till 1960.

Igbo tribe clothing

Igbo wedding clothing

It looks also interesting how young girls were dressed for a wedding. They wore the beautiful weaved hat with the line of coral beads, which proceeded to the middle and came to an end in the form of the loop passing through a forehead. Also it was possible to see a necklace, bracelets and armbands, jigida corals around the girl's waist, sandals, and of course, a huge bracelet from ivory to designate her status of the bride. She has carried a long cut-out wooden staff in the right hand, and in her left hand there was a whisk from a tail of horse. She also wear fabric around a waist (ogodo), which was put on between her legs and hung on the other side to cover her privates and buttocks.

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