ADAPTATION OF HAM TRADITIONAL DESIGNS AS SOURCES OF MOTIFS FOR FABRIC AND APPAREL EMBELLISHMENT USING BATIK
The problem of this study is that of the selection, documentation, explanation and preservation of some of the traditional designs found on the artefacts of the Ham People of Kaduna State and adapting them for contemporary use on fabric using Batik Technique of fabric embellishment. The general objective of the study is to select and adapt traditional designs on the artefacts of Ham People and adapt them for use as motifs on contemporary batik resist fabric for embellishment, thereby ensuring the sustainability of such motifs. The purposes of the study are: to identify the traditional artefacts of the Ham people and the design motifs on them and to extract some of these motifs and adapt them onto fabrics using batik technique of textile decoration. The study adopts survey method for data collection to obtain relevant information from the subjects in the sample area as suggested by Adetoro (1997). Exploratory approach and product development (R&D) was used for sourcing for designs on artefacts as suggested by Itten (1997). Other parameters of investigation used in exploratory methodology include population of the study, sampling, pilot study and experiments for adaptation of designs to textile fabrics using resist techniques. Three survey instruments were used in the study. The first one which is a questionnaire (Appendix II) was used for pilot study and the second one Appendix III (A) interview was used for collecting data of the fifty traditional motifs. The third one (Appendix III B questionnaire) was used for the assessment of the resist pieces of fabric produced from the modified traditional design motifs extracted from the artefacts of the Ham People for comparison with those produced within the recent period. This was done by presenting the twenty five selected motifs to some randomly selected respondents, comprising of Ham youths and adults based in Zaria. The comparative assessment questionnaire is a five Likert scaled instrument. Based on the analysis of the study, the following findings were made: 1.The production of traditional artefacts of the Ham people is on the downward trend. 2. Ten different crafts are still being practiced by the Ham people (mostly old people and only on request) 3. The traditional artefacts of the Ham people have symbolic motifs with traditional names and can be adapted on textile fabrics, using the batik technique of fabric decoration. 4. Cultural and environmental factors such as festivals, annual cultural day celebrations, naming ceremonies, marriages, burial, initiation rites and aesthetic values are guiding the use of the traditional Ham design motifs. 5. Vat dyes are quite suitable for the practical adaptation of the Ham design motifs on fabrics and apparel using the batik technique. The general conclusion is that although the production of artefacts in Ham land is on the downward trend, it is still being practiced with symbolic motifs that are adaptable on fabrics using resist dying techniques.
Culture is the way of life as well as a heritage that is being passed from one generation to the other. Among the countries of Africa, according to Kashim, (2011), “Nigeria has taken a prominent position when it comes to cultural heritage and creative art which are manifested in her diverse crafts”. The products of these indigenous craft have sufficiently served economic needs of the people in the local communities. Since the pre-colonial era, various members of distinct ethnic groups engage in a lot of traditional craft practices in the agrarian occupational engagement. Nigerian culture is very colourful especially when it comes to the textiles, it‟s a thing of pride for Nigerians. This study therefore, was motivated through the observations of the various traditional designs found on the artifacts of the Ham people of Kaduna state. These designs could be very suitable as motifs in batik method of fabric embellishment in textile design.
1.1 Background of Study
This study is concerned with artefacts, traditional designs and motifs of the Ham people of Kaduna State. Ogunduyile, (2011) observed that art has been noted to be the totality of all knowledge and values shared by a society. Creativity has been in existence right from the time of the ancient man; he used what he could find in his surrounding to solve his problems. Marvin and David, L. D wrote that human beings expressed themselves and told their stories in pictures long before they could read and write. They further explained that pictures on the walls of early cave dwellings are evidence of the human compulsion to describe the world in both representational and symbolic images. The Ham man is, therefore, not exempted in this story of the ancient man; he created and designed things with whatever he could find in his immediate environment. Development and industrialization of a country revolves around the modernization of the artefacts and crafts of the people. “The industrial development in a country involves considerable artefacts and crafts that develops in stages and which leads to a progressive growth” (Ajayi 2007). The use of these traditional designs is going a long way in saving the artefacts and crafts for the younger generation.
1.1.1 Brief Introduction to Kaduna State
Kaduna state is a state in the central Northern Nigeria, and its capital is Kaduna. Established in 1912 by Lord Frederick Lugard, first as a garrison town and then as the regional capital of the then Northern protectorate, Kaduna soon attracted people of all races, religion and cultures. Within two decades of its establishment, it grew from almost a virgin territory of small scattered settlement of the indigenous population of mostly the Gbagyi, to a town of over 30,000 people. This population comprise of the British colonies, artisans and clerks from the southern protectorate as well as labourers and traders from the Nupe, Hausa, Kanuris, Fulanis and other tribes in the Northern protectorate. Kaduna derived its name from the river Kaduna which gave the settlement its name; it was so called because it was crocodile infested, “Kadduna” being the plural of “crocodile” in Hausa, (Haruna 2013).
The state has at the moment 23 local government areas and all these 23 are all blessed with fertile land for farming of both food and cash crops, it‟s also for irrigational farming (fadama farming). The state is also blessed with several mineral resources like clay, gold, graphite and many others, which has made the state a center for several small scale businesses like pottery, textiles, poultry and many other petty trading. It is mostly dominated by the Ham, Gbagyi, Adara, Gong, Atyap, Hausa and some other ethnic communities, according to Dangel (2008). The Ham people occupy four local Government Areas in Kaduna state and they are Jaba, Jema’a, Kagarko and Kachia Local Government Areas.
1.1.2 Brief Introduction to the Ham People
According to James (1997) the Ham people spread over an area of about 307 square miles (sqm) in Kaduna state of Nigeria. The origin of Ham include Nok, Kwoi, Zshiek( Kurmin Musa) Dung( Jaban Kogo) Chori, Fai, Ketere, Sambang Gida, Sambang Daji,Wenyom and other Ham settlements in the southern part of Kaduna State. Like many peoples of northern Nigeria, the Ham, who are neither Hausa nor Fulani, have also adopted the Hausa language as part of their lingua franca. The Hausa Language is the Language commonly spoken in the Northern region of Nigeria.
The Hausa Language to a greater extent has diluted and adulterated the native tongue (Hyam) of the Ham language often mutually in-twined or used interchangeably among younger generation that did not grow up with the native lingua franca hence the fading away of the Ham Language.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Civilization has affected the production of the Ham artefacts negatively in the sense that the production of these artefacts that are beautifully decorated with traditional designs has drastically reduced, thereby leading to the loss of some historical information. The problem of the study therefore is the lack of proper preservation and presentation of the Ham artefacts and traditional designs that could serve as means of saving information for the younger generation.
In Nigeria, what is mostly known about traditional designs and artefacts in art revolves around the Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa and little is known about the minority ethnic groups who populate this country in their millions. The presence of historical crafts activities around Ham people shows that these skills can be utilized to modern day technology for if not adopted now, with time the artefacts and crafts will face extinction. Most of these artefacts and crafts were used for different purposes and it was observed that these artefacts and crafts have been replaced with modern facilities which appear to be more durable. Against the background, the researcher is therefore set to investigate the existence of these antiquities and to provide solution on how they can be used on modern fabric and apparel embellishment. The problem of the study therefore is the lack of proper documentation and preservation of the Ham artefacts, craft and traditional designs.
1.3 Aims and Objectives of the Study
The aim of this study is to explore and preserve the Ham traditional designs and motifs that can be seen on the artefacts as well as adapt them on fabrics. While the objectives of the study are:
i. Study the Ham artefacts and the various unique features of the traditional designs found on them.
ii. Determine the various unique features of the Ham traditional designs as motifs in textile design.
iii. Select some of the artefacts and develop traditional motifs for them as to find out whether they can be used for fabrics and apparel embellishment.
iv. To identify the meaning and functions attached to the various artefacts, crafts and traditional designs of the Ham people.
v. Assess the relationship of the newly modified motifs and the old traditional ones that have been in existence in order to ascertain their differences.
1.4 Research Questions
In this study research questions are opted for because they provide findings and solutions to research problems. Some of the research questions raised for this study are:
1. What are the unique features of the Ham traditional designs found on the artefacts of the Ham people?
2. What are the various unique features of the Ham traditional designs that can be used as motifs in textile design?
3. Can the traditional designs found on the artefacts of the Ham people be adapted and applied on fabrics and apparels using batik methods?
4. Are there special meanings and functions attached to these artefacts and traditional designs?
5. To what extent can the differences between the newly modified motifs and the old traditional ones of the Ham people be determined?
The Ham people are a people with an interesting culture that can be studied over and over again because of the beautiful way of life of the Ham man. The researcher had studied most of the batik designed fabrics and apparels in the markets and discovered that they are mostly embellished with the designs and motifs of the Yoruba people of the southern part of Nigeria. The various traditional designs of the Ham people, when inculcated and adapted on the fabric, will give batik another look from the ones already in circulation. Ala‟u (2006) in his study on the “Adaptation of the Traditional Designs on crafts of Southern Kaduna as motifs for Textiles Resist Technique”, talked on the crafts of some ethnic groups in the southern part of Kaduna state and which Ham was inclusive. But in his study of the Ham crafts, he only studied and talked on the Nok terracotta which is one of the major artefacts the Ham people can be identified with. James (1997), in his book entitled „The Ham: Its people, their political and cultural History‟, concentrated mainly on the cultural history and origin of the Ham people, no serious attention was given to their artefacts, crafts, designs and motifs. Looking at the study of Ala‟u (2006), Fagg (1999), James (1997) and some other paper presentations by Gandu (2013), it is obvious that much attention has not been given to the study of the artefacts and traditional designs of the Ham people which, therefore, justifies this study.
1.6 Significance of the Study
Studies carried out shows that scholars like Fagg (1990) have written on Nok culture, which is one major part of the Ham people, however most of the documentations made by these scholars were on sculptures and none has been made on the textiles of the people. In response to Fagg (1990) and Ala‟u (2006), this study will concentrate on digging into the artefacts and traditional designs of the Ham people. Most of these artefacts and traditional designs are in the danger of extinction as the younger generation is not keen on taking over from the older generation.
The significance and importance of this study therefore will be talked about in the following sub topics, and aspects of life; Educational, cultural, aesthetic, economical and technological
• Educationally, the study will provide a good source of information, especially when there is limited number of literature on the comprehensive study of the artefacts, crafts and traditional designs of the Ham people.
• Economically, this study will encourage people to go into private practice of textiles through the use of local resources, skills, artefacts and traditional designs for the economical growth of the Ham people, Kaduna state and the country as a whole. Industrial development in a country involves considerable artisanal crafts firms in the early stages that grew progressively in number into large scale manufacturers over the years. Ajayi, (2007).
• Culturally, this study contributes to the preservation of the cultural heritage of the Ham people, in the sense that most of the information on cultural artefacts and traditional designs would be documented and motifs adapted on fabrics. It will further develop the awareness and understanding of the cultural activity of the Ham people.
• Aesthetically, this study will provide the Ham people beautifully designed fabrics and apparels that can be used as the identity of the Ham people in social gatherings. Textile dyeing with embellishment of colourful patterns and motifs will satisfy the local clothing needs.
There is the need to identify and preserve these traditional designs, and their adaptation on fabric is one way of reserving and representing them. The arts councils, museums and departments of culture are all in the business of studying, preserving and promoting culture, and the new policy on education emphatically stresses the significance of integrating our cultural system, (Rhoda 2006). In line with Rhoda (2006) it can be said that the culture can be disseminated to a larger public. This study, therefore, will compliment the efforts of the culture departments and the art councils. The study will also enlighten the public on the artefacts and traditional designs of the Ham people, thereby rekindling the interest in the study of Ham arts and culture. It is also anticipated that this work will provide fresh resources in motifs with a view to improving or adding to the existing literature on fabric embellishment in textiles. Similarly, Wangboje (1985), encouraged the conduct of local research into local and traditional materials in order to meet the challenges of the time and to produce products that are relevant to the needs, taste and culture of the society. This study also responds to the call made by Jamkur (1992) and Ala‟u (2006) for more research on the Nok culture and the craft of the southern Kaduna people for adaptation to other textile methods of production using pigments and dyes. Furthermore, it responds to Governments‟ incessant call for Nigerians to look inwards rather than outwards for their needs.
The fact that Nigerians are living in an era of democracy with some economic hardship that is making the people patronize home made goods makes this study relevant. The home made goods which Nigerians now rush for include textile products such as adire- eleko, okene, akwete and aso-oke (Alau 2006). This recent development, therefore, makes this study not only justifiable and imperative but also timely. Finally, in the present democratic dispensation and the seemingly rising feelings of nationalism, cultural inclination with the ardent desire for industrialization and economic emancipation, the significance of the study in this direction cannot be underrated.
1.7 Scope and Delimitation
The scope of the study is delimited to two Local Government Areas the Ham people are predominantly found, namely, Kachia and Jaba Local Government Areas. Kachia Local Government Area has 23 districts and out of which the Ham people occupy 9. In Jaba Local Government Area there are 16 districts all of which are occupied by the Ham people. These two Local Government Areas are sample areas because most of the artefacts of the Ham people are the same.
Furthermore, the study is delimited to the artefacts and traditional designs that are found on household utensils, musical instruments and ritual equipment of the Ham people. The study was also limited to batik method of fabric embellishment only. Below are some Ham cultural artefacts and crafts that were studied.
Nik fang (The co-joined pot)
Yok zar (The co-joined spoon)
Hyep shi (Oil jar)
Hki Nok (Nok terracotta)
1.8 Basic Assumptions
The following assumptions were made for the study:
i. The Ham people have an established artefacts and traditional designs that are on the way to total extinction
ii. The Ham people are a people with an interesting culture that needs to be exploited and critically studied
iii. Representation of other Nigerian cultures should also be reflected in fabrics and apparels embellished with batik method of resist technique instead of focusing on some and ignoring the others.
iv. The researcher will gain access to most of the artefacts and traditional designs of the Ham people.
v. Most of the respondents have adequate knowledge of these artefacts and traditional designs.
Use this article as a guide for your own research paper (if properly cited)