Lagos culture, arts and crafts

Although Lagos is a cosmopolitan city, the traditions of the original settlers have been preserved and now form part of the rich culture of the State.

The arts and crafts of the indigenes are related to the geography.

Most objects initially are of vegetable origin in which raffia, with fibrous bark, is commonly employed.

Tools are few and simple. The chisel and knife are commonly used in carving. Simple, two and four harvest looms are employed for weaving while an improvised wheel; stones and corncobs are used for pottery.


Clay is one of the most abundant substances found in parts of the State. It is cheap, easily acquired and preparation does not require extensive processing, as do most raw materials. The clay is mostly dredged from the banks of rivers or pounds. As a result, pottery making forms one of the most common crafts of Lagos State. Pots, after being formed, are allowed to dry in open air under the shade of trees or under roofs in some areas. Firing of pots among the people is done usually by bonfires. The pots are finally taken to markets for sale. The craft is predominant among the people of Badagry.Basket-Weaving

The materials for making basket can be found all over Lagos State in one form or another. Grasses, reeds, raffia, bamboo, split palm fronds and banana fibres from the forest are some of the natural materials used by the people to make baskets. Tools are simple, a knife and awl are all that are essential, but some people use blunt reeds for sewing raffia and fibres. Basket weavers create extraordinary shapes and handsome forms. Natural fibres are picked and slashed horizontally to a frame of vertical reeds and woven into design. Palm fibres are slipped and hung to dry. The most common and perhaps the earliest basketry technique is simple the weave.

mat weaving


This is another craft practiced in some areas of the state. It is the art of plaiting grass and leaves. Apart from yielding some very necessary products, grass weaving reveals the ingenuity of the local craftsman in using the abundant raw materials within his reach.

Hair Plaiting

The crowning glory of most women is their hair. Before the advent of the modern hair-care business in this part of the world, which uses various electrical gadgets and chemical cosmetic preparations, women’s hair had been carefully woven into different styles by skilful hand plaiters.

This is a common practice among women of all ages in the State especially in the rural areas. Here, it is not uncommon to have the hair plaited free through mutual arrangements