An Evaluation Of Decorated Traditional Cloth Used In TIV Cultural Activities

Project and Seminar Material for Fine Arts

An Evaluation Of Decorated Traditional Cloth Used In TIV Cultural Activities


Abstract


The study evaluated the decorated traditional cloth used in Tiv cultural activities in Benue State, Nigeria. The aim of the study was to establish the aesthetic value of Tiv traditional cloth used in cultural activities, while the objectives are to: find out the educational value of Tiv traditional cloth; examine the symbolic meanings of black and white colour; and evaluate the use of the Tiv traditional cloth. To facilitate the study, three research questions were raised and answered. Related literature based on conceptual framework were reviewed which served as a road-map for the study. The survey research design was used for the study. A sample of 140 weavers was used for the study. A structured questionnaire developed by the researcher was used in collecting data from the respondents. The data collected were analysed using mean and standard deviation. From the analyses of the data, the findings showed that there is high educational value of cultural activities in relation to the black and white colours that are used on decorated Tiv traditional cloth. The black and white colours symbolize peace, fertility of the soil, harmony, authority, beauty and excellence. In addition, the usage of the decorated traditional cloth among the Tiv clan community include rituals, identity, burial ceremonies, initiation and gift. It is recommended among others that workshops and seminars be organized for weavers to adopt advanced weaving skills for mass production of decorated Tiv traditional cloth and that youth should be encouraged to use the traditional cloth to project Tiv culture and values more than it is being done currently.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

The thematic preoccupation of this chapter is an evaluation of the Tiv Traditional Decorated Cloth used in cultural activities in Benue State, Nigeria. Highlighted in the chapter are: background of the study, statement of the problem, purpose, research questions, significance, and scope of the study.

The Tiv traditional cloth is woven in predominately black and white with a manually designed loom. Although tie and dye and batik designs are veritable means that produces beautiful colours, Igirgi (2007), research has revealed that, Tiv textile industry depends excessively on local materials of „Beba‟ with the addition of „Kawa‟ that produce the black colour. While the white colour is obtain by maintaining the natural white colour of the cotton wool used. Advances in Technology have made it possible to change the difficulty and complexity often encountered in local production of colour. Colours are imported for use for tie and dye and batik design. Advances in technology have also made it possible to produce materials like black and white thread and other related colours, instead of using the old system of producing materials directly from back of trees, plant, leaf and earth (clay).

It is observed that Tiv textile production came about as a result of the attainment of a particular level of technology, which provided the necessary structure that aided its development into a full-fledged industry with various ramifications. The educational value of colour on Tiv textile production, which is the focus of this research, is an integral aspect of technology found important in this discussion. This treatise on textile thus highlights the essence of clothing as a human need, which is well established. Moreover, textile production

involves painstaking technology, the origin, and evolution of which definitely have significant bearing on the overall history of the societies in which it has been practiced. Attention has been directed to the technological details of the industry, proportionate interest has also been taken in its environmental, socio-cultural and economic implications. These particularly may have affected the livelihood, natural and cultural resource utilization, commerce, social organization, and intergroup relations hip among the societies concerned.

The low tempo of production in the Tiv textile industry is due to inability of weavers to design a highly modernized product and step up production by use of imported thread with manufactured colours. After food and shelter, clothing constitutes one of the important fundamental needs of man. Besides satisfying the basic need of clothing, the production and use of textile has gained importance in man’s economic and cultural life, both in the material and non-material reading, with wide-range of implications. It is on the basis of this pervading role of textiles in human life that this study was conceived and articulated. Specific focus is on the art educational value of decorated Tiv traditional cloth among Tiv people of Benue State in north central Nigeria.

Tiv people are found in the Northern and Eastern parts of Benue State. They are the major ethnic group in Benue State occupying 14 local government areas of the state. The general Murtala Mohammed administration created Benue State on the 3rd February, 1976. Benue State lies within the savannah region of central Nigeria popularly known as middle Belt region. Its geographical coordinates are longitude 7o 47‟ and 10o 0‟ East and latitude 6o 25‟ and 8o 8‟ North. The state has a boundary in the west with Kogi state, Nasarawa State in the North, Cross River and Enugu State in the south, and east are Taraba states and the Federal Republic of Cameroon. Benue State is made up of twenty three local government areas with Makurdi as its Headquarters. The local government areas are; Ado, Agatu, Apa, Buruku, Gboko, Guma, Gwer west, Gwer Katsina-Ala, Konshisha, Kwande, Logo, Makurdi, Obi, Ogbadibo, Oju, Ohimini, Okpokwu, Otukpo, Tarka, Ukum, Ushongo and Vandeikya.

Benue State is divided into three major ethic groups, namely: Tiv, Idoma and Igede. Out of the 23 local government areas, the Tiv occupy 14, Idoma has 7 and Igede 2. Within the boundaries of Tiv and Idoma are numerous minority ethnic groups, namely: Etulo, Iyon, Ugee, Ugbe, Nyifon, Jukun, Hausa, Bassa and Azago. Agriculture is the main economic activity which crowns it the Food Basket of the Nation. The major crops are: Yam, Cassava, Groundnut, Sorghum, Maize, and Rice, while tree crops are: Citrus, Palm oil, Mango, and Cashew.

It is on the basis of this pervading role of textiles in human life that this study was conceived and articulated with specific focus on evaluation of decorated traditional cloth used in Tiv cultural activities in Benue State, Nigeria.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

In recent times, the economic value and use of the Tiv decorated traditional cloth in cultural activities especially among the youths has been on a decline. Cultural activities such as marriage, burial and traditional title ceremonies feature the young people wearing western/European cloth instead of the Tiv decorated traditional cloth. Many of these Tiv youths perceive the decorated Tiv traditional cloth as a design made for the older generation of the culture. This decline in the economic value and use of the decorated traditional cloth among the younger generation does not argue well for the Tiv culture since their non-use and appreciation threaten the survival of the use of the traditional cloth by future generations.

There has been an outcry among the younger generation of Tiv especially. The complain is that weavers of the decorated traditional cloth prefer to use old method of weaving and dying which the present generation considers as out-dated. This perception discourages the youths especially from using the decorated traditional cloth during cultural activities. Whether this claim is true or false, this research is yet to determine it. Antiev (2001) states that, Tiv textile products are used mostly as secondary rather than primary form of dressing, except perhaps on ceremonial occasions. This is possibly so because the total volume of cloths produced by the Tiv local textile industry is insufficient to cater for the clothing requirements of the Tiv population. It could also be that the modern Tiv population by reasons of acculturative influence, convenience and affordability, have developed preferences for other modes of dressing from the Tiv‟s „basic‟ clothing. It is imperative to evaluate the use of the decorated traditional Tiv cloth in cultural activities. Thus, the study is to evaluate the decorated traditional cloth used in Tiv cultural activities in Benue State, Nigeria.


1.3 The Aim and Objectives

The aim of the study is to examine Tiv traditional cloths that are used in cultural activities, while the objectives are to:

  1. Find out the educational value of Tiv decorated traditional cloth;
  2. Examine the symbolic meanings of the black and white colour found on the Tiv traditional cloth; and
  3. Evaluate the use of the Tiv traditional cloth.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions are formulated to guide the study.

  1. What are the educational values of Tiv traditional cloth?
  2. What are the symbolic meanings of the black and white colour found on the Tiv traditional cloth?
  3. What are the functions of the Tiv traditional cloth?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study is significant because it will enlighten the public on the educational and aesthetic values of the decorated Tiv traditional cloth. The study will also educate people on the symbolic meanings of the black and white colours on the Tiv traditional cloth. The awareness of the symbolic meanings of the black and white colour as they are design on the Tiv traditional cloth will encourage better the use of the cloth during cultural activities.


1.6 Justification of the Study

Decoration is an integral part of Arts. The Tiv traditional cloth is predominantly decorated in black and white colours which gives it a unique cultural identity. However, the educational value of the cloth in terms of its cultural and economic importance has not been holistically established and given the desired attention. It is therefore justifiable to carry out a study on the value of the cloth in the Tiv socio-cultural context.


1.7 Scope of the Study

The study is concern with the evaluation of Tiv decorated traditional cloths that are produced within the three Local Government Areas of Benue State: Kwande, Gboko and Makurdi.

Figure 1: Map of Nigeria showing Benue state

Source: Ministry of Lands and Survey, Makurdi (2012)

Figure 2: Map of Tiv land showing Gboko, Kwande and Makurdi Local government Area

Source: Ministry of Lands and Survey (2012)


1.8 Limitations of the Study

This research faced the following limitations:

  1. Some of the elderly people, who practiced weaving in the past and have more historical knowledge and experience, are now too old, tired, while some are ill and suffer from memory loss which makes it difficult to find reliable facts from them. Also, some knowledgeable and important weavers who would have been of great help to this topic are no more alive.
  2. Poor documentation is another major setback of this research. This is because some of the changes made in Tiv textile production have been neglected and substantial ones that are aesthetically useful have been thrown away without any official record or exhibits. Therefore, the dates or periods when they were in use are lost. This has constituted difficulty in locating some of the earlier materials used that could help in comparing, the dating and referencing of the changes that are observable in Tiv textile decorated material.

1.9 Assumptions for the Study

It is assumed in this study that:

  1. The Tiv Traditional cloth has educational value which can be evaluated.
  2. People have different perception of the educational and symbolic value of the Tiv Tradition cloth.
  3. The weavers may or may not be aware of such educational or symbolic values.
  4. The black and white colours on the cloth signify something important for the Tiv people.

1.10 Definition of Operational Terms

A’nger:

Stencilled black and white (Tiv) traditional cloth Amara Mirin: feast convention

Bast:

Phloem or flescible fibre obtained from the inner bark of lime trees.

Beba:

Dye prepared from indigo leaves Biamegh: inauguration ceremony Kawa: potash

Heddles:

A set of parallel cords on a rod placed across the loom with each cord having a loop through which warps thread can be passed.

Loom:

A frame, apparatus or machine operated manually or powered, used for weaving thread into cloth

Nyagba:

A cloth usually worn to sympathize with someone

Shuttles:

A boat like device enclosing the bobbin that is passed through the shed to create weaving

Weft Stick:

These are called fillers which run across the entire length of a weave from left to right or right to left


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Introduction

The thematic preoccupation of this study was to analyze the educational value of decorated Tiv Traditional cloth used in cultural activities in three geo-political areas of Kwande, representing zone „A‟, Gboko, representing zone B and traditionally called Jemgbagh and Makurdi, representing Minda where Tiv cloth weaving, dyeing and Balik are predominantly done.


5.2 Summary

The study sets out to evaluate the decorated Tiv traditional cloth used in cultural activities in Benue state, Nigeria. The study was guided by five research questions. Relevant literatures to the study were reviewed to give a conceptual and theoretical framework.

The study adopted survey research design. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from one hundred and forty respondents that constituted the sample for the study. The respondents were weavers and users of the decorated Tiv traditional cloth. The researcher administered the questionnaires and interviewed all the 140 respondents. The data collected were analysed using descriptive statistics of frequency, percentage, mean and standard deviation.

From the analysed data, the following findings were made:

  1. The educational value of the decorated Tiv traditional cloth can be seen in form of the technological development of local textile industries.
  2. The black and white colours on Tiv traditional cloth symbolize peace, fertility of the soil, unity, harmony, authority, beauty and excellence;
  3. There is a high value for the decorated Tiv traditional cloth as it is used for rituals, identity, burial initiation and gifts initiation ceremonies, commemoration, social stratification, celebration of achievement and social-cultural value.
  4. The result shows that the users of the decorated Tiv traditional cloth are old people and that women use the decorated Tiv traditional cloth most of the time.
  5. The factors affecting the use of the decorated Tiv traditional cloth in cultural activities include, high cost of the decorated Tiv traditional cloth, adulteration of the decorated Tiv textile industry with foreign colour materials, lack of awareness, Lack of original raw materials and insufficient quantity of the decorated Tiv cloth in the market.

5.3 Conclusion

Based on findings weavers in the three geo-political areas of the study acknowledged the significance of decorated Tiv cloths in cultural activities. Most of the weavers who fall between the age, of 11 and 31 years appreciated the importance and symbolic nature of the cloth but decried non-availability of original materials. They also acknowledged the presence of foreign materials which had augmented the scarcity of locally made materials.


5.4 Recommendations

Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations were made:

  1. It is apparent from the findings of this research that, further orientation workshops and seminars need to be organized for weavers to adopt advanced weaving skills for mass production.
  2. The researcher recommends multi-disciplinary approaches from engineers, arts and social science areas to carry out further research on the various fields in relation to Tiv textile and tradition associated with the textile practice.  This researchers or scholars should be encouraged to carry out basic research on how to improve the Tiv textile in association with the Tiv clothing tradition, such that the changes that may be introduced into the Tiv textile will not be to change its scope, but to enhance its durability, quality and standard as well as increase the production speed, in production with indigenously developed materials.
  3. Finally, the public should in addition to being enlightened on the use of Tiv cloths be encouraged to promote cultural heritage.

5.5 Contribution to Knowledge

The study established that:

  1. The symbolic meaning of black and white colours on the Tiv cloth is for peace, fertility of soil, authority and beauty.
  2. Cultural activities do not address the different modes of effective learning.
  3. Black and white colour suggests light and darkness in Tiv lexicon and describes beauty and excellence.
  4. There is high significant value attached to the decorated Tiv traditional cloth as it is used for identity, burial initiation and gift presence;
  5. Black and white colour symbolizes the identity of Tiv people all over the World, and it is used to decorate people of consequence, who exhibit spirit of development in Tiv society.
  6. The study also contributes further in providing information to the literature of the decorated Tiv traditional cloth.

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