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X76.1698 Cloth mat


Object Name: Cloth mat
(ewhere opha)
Place of Origin: Nigeria
Cultural Group: Urhobo peoples
Materials Used: Dyed, woven and stiched straw
Dimensions: L: 154 cm, W: 108 cm (L: 60.6 in, W: 42.5 in)
Credit line and Accession Number: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Mrs. W. Thomas Davis, in memory of W. Thomas Davis. X76.1698

Urhobo women transform simple materials into elaborate tapestries to honor girls as they become young women. Special mats like this one (ewhere opha) drape the “throne” where the opha, or initiate, sits in state and receives visitors bearing gifts of money. The patterns woven into the mat may protect her. After being displayed when she receives visitors–and is exposed to jealous rivals–the mat hangs next to her bed and may help keep witches and evil at bay (S. Foss 1978).
Source: Anderson, Martha G. and Peek, Philip M. ed. (2002): “Ways of the Rivers: Arts and Environment of the Niger Delta” Los Angeles, UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History. page 273

SKU: X76.1698 Category:

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