Skip Navigation

Woman's wrapper (àdìrẹ ẹlé̩kọ)

Arts of Africa

Àdìrẹ is a Yorùbá textile whose patterns are made through resist dyeing. The àdìrẹ technique used to make this wrapper is àdìrẹ ẹlé̩kọ, wherein female artists paint cassava flour paste on fabric, preventing certain areas from soaking in blue indigo dye. This cloth’s name is Olókun, identifiable in part by the motif of a circular “stool” surrounded by “leaves.” As goddess of the sea, Olókun’s domain is the source of wealth, lending the cloth the associated meaning “life is sweet.” Other àdìrẹ employ tie-and-dye techniques (àdìrẹ oníko), where raffia ties hold small stones or seeds in place to cover areas of the fabric during dyeing, resulting in àdìrẹ eléso patterns. One such àdìrẹ oníko was incorporated underneath a panel in the featured egúngún (see photograph).
MEDIUM Commercial cotton cloth, synthetic indigo dye
DATES 20th century
DIMENSIONS 68 5/8 × 78 × 1/16 in. (174.3 × 198.1 × 0.1 cm) mount (when installed): 68 5/8 × 79 1/2 × 3 in. (174.3 × 201.9 × 7.6 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
CREDIT LINE Purchased with funds given by Frieda and Milton F. Rosenthal
PROVENANCE Prior to 1990, provenance not yet documented, probably from Abeokuta, Nigeria; by July 1990, acquired by Mrs. Abiola of Ibadan, Nigeria; July 17, 1990, purchased from Mrs. Abiola by Elisha Renne for the Brooklyn Museum.
Provenance FAQ
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Resist, indigo-dyed commerical cotton cloth. Free hand starch painting of patterns which fill geometric grid. Motifs include birds, leaves, and spinning tops. Commercial cotton joined by machine stitching, hemmed.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Yorùbá , unknown maker's mark. Woman's wrapper (àdìrẹ ẹlé̩kọ), 20th century. Commercial cotton cloth, synthetic indigo dye, 68 5/8 × 78 × 1/16 in. (174.3 × 198.1 × 0.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by Frieda and Milton F. Rosenthal, 1990.132.8 (Photo: , 1990.132.8_PS11.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 1990.132.8_PS11.jpg., 2018
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement. You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act. The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals. For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.
Yorùbá , unknown maker's mark. <em>Woman's wrapper (àdìrẹ ẹlé̩kọ)</em>, 20th century. Commercial cotton cloth, synthetic indigo dye, 68 5/8 × 78 × 1/16 in. (174.3 × 198.1 × 0.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by Frieda and Milton F. Rosenthal, 1990.132.8 (Photo: , 1990.132.8_PS11.jpg)