Friday, July 7, 2023



Adire patterns and pictograms were a mode of storytelling and communication via fabrics in Yorubaland but have been largely lost to the fog of time in the midst of globalization. 

The symbols, patterns, motifs and signs used on this traditional Yoruba clothing style carry meanings which are unknown to many. 

Here are some of them with their meanings.

  *Wall gecko (Ọmọnile) - The symbol of a peaceful home.

  *A snake and a bird on a tree (Ejo ati ẹyẹ) - The enemies in your own home will not hurt you openly. 

*Mirror/Diagonal hatch (Dingi) - Self reflection, reflection of life, someone who is a reflection in your life.

  *Concentric spirals (Olókòtó) - The cycle of life, going through the natural stages of life, we start small but grow bigger. 

*Crossroads (Orita mẹta) - Your journey may be difficult, but you will eventually get there. 

*Umbrella & cassava leaf (Agbòrùn ati ewé ẹ̀gẹ́) - The umbrella represents shade and protection, the leaves mean resources, every part of the cassava is useful. Don't be lazy, take advantage of the resources around you and make full use of them. 

*Feathers (Ìyẹ)- Anywhere you want to go, you will get there fast *Waves - Wave away any troubles, vastness, depth and continuity. 

*Four ducks with beaks meeting (Pẹpẹyẹ) - Ducks eat stone but will excrete water, all the schemings of your enemies will avail to nothing. 

  *Concentric rectangles with central circle (Agbolé) - Family house. When a family lives together, their bond is stronger, you don't leave fire burning on a roof and go to sleep. 

*Guinea corn (Ọka bàbà) - The hand that gives/feeds you will never lack.

  *Cowrie shells (Owo ẹyọ) - Represents wealth and prosperity.

  *Ear ring (Iyẹti) - You will only hear good news around you.

  *Calabash with cowry shells with lines (Ṣẹkẹrẹ pẹlu Owo ẹyọ) - The beaded musical rattle need not be beaten with a stick, do not expend energy on unnecessary things. 

*Concentric squares (Ogbó/Atọ) - Long life, the blessings of longevity and prosperity. 

*Lame knee (Orokun Arọ) - A foretold battle will not kill a wise handicap, be proactive about your insufficiencies. Don't let your disabilities deter you. 

*A square divided in 8 triangles (Dùndún), Talking drum - Celebration and joy, an eventful life. 

*Calabash halves with squares in the middle - Life is sweet, but with money it is even sweeter. 

*Pillars (Òpó/Opomulero) - Strength and support, also that which you struggle to get lasts longer in your hands.

  *Fish bone pattern (Egungun Ẹja) - Don't bite off more than you can chew. 

*Crown/triangular pattern (Adé) - There is no king without a crown, a wealthy woman is the crown of her husband.

  *Fat lizard (Alangba bẹrẹkẹtẹ) - A family/home that is well fed/taken care of. The lizard's big stomach is a symbol of wealth. 

*Central tray with four spoons/ladles (Ojú ìdí/ara) - Only a woman can reveal the true father of her children.

  *Canoe with a circular luggage in middle (Ọkọ̀ pẹlu Ẹrù) - Two men quarrelling will not sit on the same side in a boat and will not work together. Settle your differences and grow together.

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