Etsako Crafts

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Last update 03-06-2020) 

Spinning and weaving of locally grown cotton is carried out by the women throughout the area. The cloth is woven on simple upright looms, with heddle worked by hand, in strips of varying width. The indigenous cloth is either white or with a pattern of blue and white stripes and is of rather coarse texture, however, there has been a development of intricate pattern weaving in both local materials and imported silks and cottons. New patterns are constantly being evolved and a large proportion of the output is bought in the local markets by traders from other parts of Nigeria who export it to other parts of the country. This development is connected with a similar one at Okene, the main centre of the Igbira people immediately to the north.

etsako weavers Using indigenous handioom
Etsako weavers using indigenous handioom

There is a handloom textile centre at Auchi where people learn weaving to be able to set up small-scale industries in their area. They produce cloths of various designs for sale. The centre which was established in 1948 has trained many handloom weavers. It is being expanded under an agreement with foreign technical partner to produce India madras popularly known as “George”

Some pottery is made and the wood of the silk-cotton tree is carved. In the Etsako the wood-carving is more akin to Ibo than to Benin and Yoruba.

Iron ore was formerly smelted at Unguyami (Ukpella Clan) and near lueme Ekpe. Many of the blacksmiths are Ineme people. Brass-smiting are done by Ineme groups
There are some interesting methods of storing food. In some places yams are stacked on platforms raised above the ground as protection against vermin and insects. Corn cobs are tied to high poles and such crops as beans are kept inside bales of interwoven grass which are suspended from trees.

House types vary in character but compounds are generally speaking larger than in Benin and Ishan villages. They are mud-built and thatched (except in the forest areas) with grass, large bundies of which can be seen in the villages in the dry season. Among the Etsako and in most Ivbiosakon villages the compounds rectangular, with rooms ranged round a large open courtyard. There are usually entrances back and front and the latter is often sheltered by a verandah supported by mud pillars. In some houses there are additional courtyards.

Throughout the area there is a sprinkling of single and two-storeyed houses in which new materials such as concrete and corrugated metal and aluminums roofing sheets have been used. The ceiling is made of wooden beams between and over which mud has been beaten down to form the upper floor. These houses often have verandahs and balconies supported by mud pillars. In some villages the outer wall of houses are painted with geometric and animal designs.

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