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A Design of A Batik Duvet Exploring ULI Motifs


This project is based on Uli motifs using it as a design to produce duvet. Uli is one of the oldest arts used by the Igbos not just for body decoration but a way of life and an act of writing. The drawing of Uli is no longer invoked and the memoirs seem to be lost from the original traditional use and its meaning. The contemporary artists are now trying to revive them and bring them into use through textiles designs on fabrics, graphic designs on substrate available to them, painting on canvas and other medium the artist deem fit. This is the reason the researcher decide to bring it into duvet.




Due to western influence on our culture some of our motifs, patterns and styles have gone into extinction due to the disdain on our culture and traditions, which is also having an effect on the young generations and as a result of western influence on our culture and our way of life; in dressing, eating, organization in the homes, development  in the society, polities, and above all our mannerism.

Uli as an act of writing is not only for body decoration among the people of the Eastern Region (the Igbo’s) of Nigeria but also an Art and Writing. The aforementioned like every other act of writing which came into existence about the year 1553, was not fully explored and developed as a result of western influence (colonization) on Nigerians so many decades ago when the British explorers first visited Nigeria for the purpose of commerce (slave trade and agriculture). Consequently, the act of Uli as an Art is gradually losing its values and going into extinction from the peoples’ traditions and activities as observed in the current social-traditional circle of the Igbos ethnic nationality as well as the entire Nigeria where must people have little or no knowledge of the practice of Uli arts and design.

Traditionally, Uli designs are designs drawn by the Igbos of the Eastern Nigeria. These designs (Uli Art) are drawings of strong linear, asymmetrical, concentric circles, zigzags and objects which are also drawn in abstract forms like stools, pots, pythons, lizards, dots and so many other objects and natural bodies around us. Although it is also use as a sacred images in walls of the shrines, Uli designs generally are not sacred when it comes in form of Art for Art in house decoration and body painting, This drawings were once practiced in the Eastern region of Nigeria. Contemporary designed duvets wears designs from the western culture of pictures and images of animals, floral designs, and shapes etcetera.

The influence of western culture on the citizens has made the people to buy in to the use of duvet in their homes in place of wrapper that was invoked. The researcher has decided to include the Uli motifs and patterns on duvets. This project focuses on the mutual creation of contemporary and traditional art to produce a good textile work that will show contemporary influence and cultural awareness of uli.

The researcher intends to make Uli body decoration design motifs as patterns on Duvets. Pattern stimulates a sense of participation because texture can be felt emotionally, Uli designs shall replace the motifs of the western world which often appears as a peacock, floral etc and serve the same purpose as the formal. All this elements will be brought together to push further the frontiers of traditional and cultural awareness in Nigeria through textile designs. The means used in achieving this project is a technique known as batik. Batik is a technique of fabric decoration that the researcher will used to produce patterns (motifs) on the fabrics.


  • Influence of technology and internet facilities, designs and templates has weakened the creative designs of our traditional motifs and the artists of this generation/designers are now been influence by the designs from western
  • Of resent, most of the indigenous motifs on our printed fabric in Nigeria Textile Industries are either designs motifs from the Hausa or the Yoruba background. The researcher also believes that the Uli motifs can as well be
  • The researcher hopes to encourage cottage industry in the production of duvet in our environment by using affordable local / indigenous
  • This research work hopes to teach or educate Nigerian upcoming generation artist to appreciate and explore indigenous motifs in our environment.


  • The objective of this research work is to enlighten/educate both the public and practicing artist in the industry at home and in Diaspora of the value and usefulness of Uli motifs in the production of good artworks, moreover for proper documentation.
  • Another significant thing in this research work is to emphasize/project the rich cultural heritage of the Ibos of eastern Nigeria, which is gradually going into extinction due to western influence on diverse cultural identities of our
  • Importantly, the knowledge of Nigerians about the Eastern (Ibos) cultural heritage will be broaden especially the acts of Igbo’s Uli body decoration which is the bedrock of this research


The importance of this project cannot be overlooked or undermined, as the values of uli art are ageless.

TO THE TEXTILE ARTIST: This research work will open the minds of textile designers to articulate inspiration from cultures and things around them; moreover it will be an open door for Nigeria’s undeveloped art and writings.

TO THE OBSERVER: This project will instill consciousness of the existence of uli culture which would hopefully be embraced.

TO THE SOCIETY: This project is to serve as a reference point reminding and telling society and authorities concerned, that Nigeria’s traditional culture is moving into extinction without proper documentation. This project will also show possible ways in which the rich cultural heritage of the country could be preserved through textile arts. This project challenges the government, authorities and the societies that are involved in art and culture to evaluate how effective it has so far preserved and promote in all ramifications, Nigerian cultures and their uniqueness. It hopes to reawaken the society in taking individual and collective responsibility to ensure and prevent it from submitting into western civilization.


This project is concerned with the concept of using Uli body decoration motifs and batik in the creation of a duvet which will be express in a family size.


While executing this project, the researcher was faced with different challenges. Difficulty in expression: The researcher has ideas but find it difficult to express the way she wanted and also due to the artistic taste of individuals the project has gone through different experiment.

Space: the researcher who shares the studio with other students found the studio too tight to work and most times this makes it difficult for the researcher to do her work easily and effectively.

Schedule: carrying out the project alongside the classes, assignments and obligations was stressful. Sometimes the researcher was face with difficulty in executing all the ideas she has in mind.


Uli: Uli is the name given to traditional designs drawn by the Igbo people of Nigeria, (Wikipedia.org)

Batik: Batik is a technique of wax resist dyeing applied to a whole cloth, or cloth made using this technique, (Wikipedia.org).

Duvet: Duvet is a quilt made up of broad channels stuffed with synthetic /fiber material, usually used inside a removable washable cover in a piece or together with bed sheets and blankets, (Microsoft Encarta 2009).

Marbling: the process of applying streaks of color to a fabric to create the appearance of marble, (Microsoft Encarta 2009).

Motif: a repetitive decorative design sewn into or printed on something such as a piece of clothing, or a single example of a pattern, (Microsoft Encarta 2009).


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