Symbolic Motifs on Igbo Fabrics: A Socio-semiotic Appraisal


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Linguistics and Nigerian Languages


Fabrics represent important images of artefacts and symbolic communication. They are bearers of aesthetic attractions and socio-cultural meanings. This study examines the layers of significations embedded in motifs on Igbo fabrics in South-eastern Nigeria. The project adopts Kress' and van Leeuwen's socio-semiotic approach in investigating the linguistic, semiotic and socio-cultural significance of the motifs in selected Igbo fabrics such as Akwette, Isiagu and Ukara Igbo. It also examines the influence of modernization on the use of these fabrics and its implications on the Igbo culture. The project adopts ethnographic approach using 40 participants, who will be purposively selected in Abia State. The study will conclude that motifs on Igbo fabrics play important roles in Igbo cultural rituals and celebrations. They convey deeper thoughts, express emotions and articulate socio-political sentiments. This evidence reveals that fabrics have aesthetic, symbolic and social significance for the Igbo and the Igbo material culture.