World Cultures, Africa

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shrine figure

World Cultures

Object connections:

Collection World Cultures, Africa
User collections Collectables (All) by blueheatwave
Collectables (Africa) by blueheatwave
Gallery locationNot on display
PeopleProvenance: Bedford, Frederick George Denham
EventsBrass River Expedition, 1895

Object details:

Object ID AAA2816
Description A human figure carved from a single piece of wood. It is wearing a top hat and and a necklace of blue beads. It holds a wooden machette attached with a nail. The figure probably represents the spirit of an ancestor. Gods and spirits were represented in material form to fix them in an earthly place where they could be worshipped. Subsequently, they might be replaced and thrown away or be neglected by their worshippers. The European hat was a symbol of high status worn by chiefs and the figure would also have been originally dressed in a fabric skirt. The carving was captured when Little Fishtown (Ewoama) was destroyed on 24 February 1895 by a punitive expedition led by Rear Admiral F.G.D. Bedford, after a factory at Akassa, belonging to the Royal Niger Company was attacked on 28 January 1895, because the Nembe resented Company encroachment on their trade in palm oil with the lower Niger. The British burned the Nembe towns of Nembe and Okpoma during the same campaign.
Date made before 1895

Place made Ewoama, Nigeria
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials wood
Measurements Overall: 970 x 250 x 185 mm
  • shrine figure (AAA2816)
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