Woman’s Prestige Wrapper (aso oke, iro)

Yoruba people, Nigeria, African

Early to mid-20th century

The Yoruba wear aso oke (“top cloth”) on important occasions. Tailors make flowing trousers and robes for men, and women wrap rectangular panels like this one into ankle-length skirts.


The purple color and designs show influences that traveled across the Sahara from North Africa to Nigeria via trade routes. The arrow shape–which appears on boards used by Islamic students to read and write Arabic–was absorbed into Yoruba culture, and was not worn exclusively by Islamic people.

  • Titles Woman's Prestige Wrapper (aso oke, iro) (Descriptive)
  • Medium cotton and silk
  • Dimensions 64 × 39 in. (162.6 × 99.1 cm)
  • Credit Line Anonymous gift, 1991.998
  • Work Type wrapper
  • Classification Costume