The Lion-head, which translates as Isi-agu and also called Chieftaincy , is a pullover shirt similar to the dashiki that is worn by Igbo people. It is usually worn on special occasions like weddings. The shirt may be long or short sleeved. Some shirts have gold buttons that are linked by a chain.
There is usually a breast pocket on the front. Traditionally, the Isiagu was given to a man when he received a chieftaincy title. The shirt is usually worn with a red fez hat or the Igbo lion cap. The lion cap is known as Okpu Agu in the Igbo language. Typically the fabric is found in a red or burgundy base color but can also be seen in black, blue or creme colors.
Traditionally it has been used primarily for men. However in recent years, women have also begun to use the fabric in creating their own styles in a break from tradition.
Interestingly, some isi-agụ materials bear no animal pictures (as can be seen in some of the attached pictures), but are still called isi-agụ. Some even have the pictures of other animals but are still called isi-agụ. So it is no longer the picture drawn on this material that makes people call it isi-agụ. It is the material and what it represents. It is the cloth material that points to the Igbos as a people. The Igbos have adopted it as the cloth that gives them their identity. So isi-agụ is it!
If you don’t have your isi-agụ, nwanne, ndo