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Sarah Miller

Commemorative textiles and Anglican Church history in Ondo, Nigeria

Publication Abstract

Akinwumi, T.M., and Elisha Renne. 2008. "Commemorative textiles and Anglican Church history in Ondo, Nigeria." Textile-the Journal of Cloth & Culture, 6(2): 126-144.

The history of the Anglican Church in Nigeria, beginning with its establishment by European missionaries and continued by Nigerian clergy, reflects changing ecclesiastical concerns, which have been discussed in the considerable literature on the history of Christianity in Nigeria. This paper takes a different approach to Anglican Church history in the town of Ondo, in southwestern Nigeria, by focusing on four different commemorative anniversary cloths commissioned by two Anglican churches in Ondo and by the Anglican Diocese, Ondo, from 1925 to 2002. These cloths reflect the different concerns of church leaders during the times when they were made as well as the manufacturing techniques used in their production. This analysis of the four anniversary cloths differs from other studies of commemorative textiles as it details the extensive negotiations that went into the decisions made by particular church leaders, both in the design and commissioning of these cloths from textile manufacturers first in the UK and then in Nigeria. These Anglican Church cloths suggest the ways that cloth was used by church leaders and members both to depict the historical travails of the Anglican Church in Ondo and to express their different and, at times, conflicting opinions and experiences. They were also used to attract new members, who were impressed by the prestige imparted to the wearers of these innovative cloths. This focus on commemorative textiles as historical record thus provides a means of understanding church history from an African perspective.

DOI:10.2752/175183508x327776 (Full Text)

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