Also known as Real Madras handkerchief( RMHK ) it is a fabric thought to have initially been woven on hand looms in Madras as ceremonial handkerchiefs–though ‘handkerchief’ may also refer to the 36” x 36” (91.5 x 91.5 cm) square repeat pattern, by this the fabric could circumvent certain textile import laws,  as a handkerchief. Through the British Empire international connections, it came to be particularly associated with, and specifically woven for the trading Kalabari tribe of the Nigerian Delta. Indeed, in a community with no weaving tradition of its own, this fabric has come to feature centrally in daily and ritual life. There are two types of RMHK: a dobby-woven fabric with bright floral motifs, and a plaid in more traditional colours.

Madras as a term to describe typical checks of the cloth, when applied to other fabrics such as silk, whether woven or printed.

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