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Nsibidi - The Ancient Script of Eastern Nigeria

Nsibidi is an intricate system of symbols and signs that has captured the interest of historians, artists and linguists alike. Its an ancient script with deep meaning. 

Nsibidi is thought to have originated from Southeastern Nigeria and Southwestern Cameroon. The symbols were believed to have been used for centuries as a form of written communication. Their exact origin remains a mystery.

Nsibidi is a writing system (not an actual language). The symbols do not represent sounds (phonetics) rather they convey meanings, proverbs, personal names, ideas and concepts. They also serve as a means to document history, laws, rituals and societal norms .They also represent abstract concepts like  bravery, wisdom and leadership. 

It was commonly inscribed on various surfaces like palm leaves, calabashes, walls, wood, clothing and the skin. Contemporary African artists, writers and designers now incorporate this into their works.

Enduring Legacy
Nsibidi did face periods of declining use due to western influences and changing cultural dynamics. Efforts to revive and preserve it have gained momentum in recent years. Scholars and cultural advocates have worked together to decode and document its symbols and preserve it for future generations.

Modern Interpretation
Here at Igbo Tees, we are contributing our quota to that Nsibidi revival by incorporating Nsibidi symbols in our latest offering of colourful Tees. We are not only paying homage to the past but bridging the gap between tradition and modernity for our generation. 

Explore our Nsibidi Tees Collection here and connect to your roots again.

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Igbo woman wearing nsibidi shirt


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