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Clothing And Identity: How Can Museum Collections Of Hausa Textiles Contribute To Understanding The Notion Of Hausa Identity?

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Chapter Summary

Historically the production and use of cloth has been a highly significant medium of cultural and symbolic expression for the Hausa. Museum collections of Hausa artefacts are almost exclusively the result of acquisition by early European travellers and those involved in the colonial enterprise. This chapter draws on examples from the National Museums Scotland (NMS) and the National Museums Liverpool (NML) to examine continuity and innovation in clothing styles, through which issues concerning clothing and the construction of collective and individual identity are raised. Through illumination of the characteristics of specific robes (riguna) in the collections it deconstructs the notion of a Hausa style by identifying religious, political and cultural influences which have contributed to the development of formal attire associated with the Hausa.

Keywords: clothing styles; cultural identity; Hausa



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