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eld Museum 1
Field Museum of Natural History
Founded by Marshall Field, 1893
Vol. XXI, No. 3
CULTURE AREAS OF NIGERIA
Wilfrid D. Hambly
ASSISTANT CURATOR OP AFRICAN ETHNOLOGY
Frederick H. Rawson-Field Museum Ethnological Expedition
To West Africa, 1929-30
68 Plates in Photogravure and 1 Map
Paul S. Martin
ACTING CURATOR, DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY
r/ N NATURAL K*^
**> HISTORY >
FOUNDED Or MAHtHAU. FIELD ,
CHICAGO, U. S. A.
MAP SHOWING ROUTE OF EXPEDITION
Scale: 1 inch = 260 miles; arrow indicates route
Field Museum of Natural History
Founded by Marshall Field, 1893
Vol. XXI, No. 3
CULTURE AREAS OF NIGERIA
Wilfrid D. Hambly
ASSISTANT CURATOR OP AFRICAN ETHNOLOGY
Frederick H. Rawson-Field Museum Ethnological Expedition
To West Africa, 1929-30
68 Plates in Photogravure and 1 Map
Paul S. Martin
ACTING CURATOR, DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOI.OGY
CHICAGO, U. S. A.
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
BY FIELD MUSEUM PRESS
List of Illustrations 367
History and Exploration 384
The Prehistoric Period 384
History of the Northern Provinces 387
History of the Southern Provinces 390
IV. Industries 399
Metal Work 403
Equipment for War and Hunting 409
Spinning, Weaving, and Dyeing 412
Leather Work 420
Wood-carving, Gourds, and Musical Instruments 426
Personal Ornaments 432
V. Tribes and Their Cultures 440
The Problem 440
Somatic Characters 442
Negro Culture 449
Foreign Elements in Negro Culture 459
The Northern Culture 469
The Plateau Barrier 473
Geographical and Historical Determinants 478
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Map (facing title-page). Nigeria.
XCIII. Ornamented Gourds. Fig. 1. Gourd dyed indigo,
Bida. Cat. No. 209711, 36 x 10 cm. Fig. 2. White
incised gourd, Ogbomosho. Cat. No. 209725,
34 x 24 cm. Fig. 3. Black wooden bowl, Potiskum.
Cat. No. 209504, 26 x 16 cm. Fig. 4. Gourd dyed
red and scraped to form patterns, Maiduguri. Cat.
No. 209721, 35x18 cm. Fig. 5. Incised burnt
patterns on yellow surface, Maiduguri. Cat. No.
209729, 30 x 16 cm. Fig. 6. Incised burnt patterns
on yellow surface, Nupe, Bida. Cat. No. 209698,
28 x 22 cm.
XCIV. Wood-carving. Fig. 1. Stool, Nupe, Bida. Cat.
No. 209594, 52 x 31 x 28 cm. Fig. 2. Stool, Munshi,
Katsina Ala. Cat. No. 209423, 27x24 cm.
Fig. 3. Adze and knife for carving stools, Bida.
Cat. Nos. 209667 and 209674, 31x7 and 28x4
cm., respectively. Fig. 4. Figure of Elebiti,
Yoruba, Ife. Cat. No. 209590, 42 x 22 cm. Fig. 5.
Modern wood-carving, Benin. Cat. No. 209656,
46 x 16 cm. Fig. 6. Doll, Yoruba, Ogbomosho.
Cat. No. 209469, 24 x 8 cm. Fig. 7. Sandal,
Buduma woman, Lake Chad. Cat. No. 209491,
26 x 10 x 5 cm.
XCV. Writing Tablet and Pottery. Fig. 1. Beer jug,
Bolewa, Potiskum. Cat. No. 209738, 49 x 30 cm.
Fig. 2. Water jar, Sokoto. Cat. No. 209298,
23 x 17 cm. Fig. 3. Beer vessel, Bolewa, Potiskum.
Cat. No. 209740, 20 x 16 cm. Fig. 4. Ink bottle,
Kano. Cat. No. 209425, 10 x 8 cm. Fig. 5.
Wooden board for Koranic texts. Cat. No. 209431,
36 x 15 cm. Fig. 6. Perforated pot for smoking
meat and fish, Yoruba, Ilorin. Cat. No. 209318,
24 x 20 cm.
XCVI. Pottery, Yoruba. Figs. 1-3, 5-7, Ilorin; Fig. 4,
Iseyin. Fig. 1. Water cooler. Cat. No. 209293,
35 x 30 cm. Fig. 2. Water cooler. Cat. No.
209294, 23 x 21 cm. Fig. 3. Black earthen water
List op Illustrations
jar. Cat. No. 209330, 16 x 14 cm. Fig. 4. Oil
lamps. Cat. Nos. 209340 (left) and 209338 (right),
19 x 8, and 16 x 8 cm., respectively. Fig. 5.
Black earthen water jar. Cat. No. 209323, 16 x 15
cm. Fig. 6. Oil lamp of black pottery. Cat. No.
209336, 10 x 6 cm. Fig. 7. Food vessel of black
earthenware. Cat. No. 209326, 15 x 10 cm.
XCVII. Musical Instruments and Food Vessel. Fig. 1. Con-
tainer for butter and condiments, Maradi. Cat.
No. 209121, 71 x 34 cm. Fig. 2 a and b. Stringed
musical instrument and bow, Maiduguri. Cat.
No. 209119, 70 x 36 cm. Fig. 3. Musical instru-
ment with two strings played by plucking with
fingers, Maiduguri. Cat. No. 209116, 60 x 20 cm.
Fig. 4. Two-stringed musical instrument called
garayah, Medowa. Cat. No. 209184, 62 x 16 cm.
Fig. 5. Pottery drum, Maiduguri. Cat. No. 209125,
22 x 16 cm.
XCVIII. Beaten Brass Work, Figs. 1-3, 5-7, Nupe tribe,
Bida; Fig. 4, Buduma, Lake Chad. Fig. 1. Round
bowl. Cat. No. 209651, 26 x 11 cm. Fig. 2. Large
ewer for water. Cat. No. 209565, 33 x 15 cm.
Fig. 3. Oval brass tray. Cat. No. 209645, 30 x 17
cm. Fig. 4. Woman's copper anklets. Cat. No.
209485, 13 x 10 x 7 cm. Fig. 5. Round brass tray.
Cat. No. 209636, 20 x 20 cm. Fig. 6. Arm dagger
and brass scabbard. Cat. No. 209550, 57 x 10 cm.
Fig. 7. Vessel for kola nuts. Cat. No. 209569,
15 x 13 cm.
XCIX. Brass-casting. Fig. 1. Clay mold for casting spoon,
Benin. Cat. No. 209458, 22 x 7 cm. Fig. 2.
Brass spoon cast in mold (Fig. 1), Benin. Cat.
No. 209416, 19 x 5 cm. Fig. 3. Candlestick,
Benin. Cat. No. 209559, 18 x 5 cm. Fig. 4.
Hairdressing implement, beaten brass, Bida. Cat.
No. 209552, 20 x 2 cm. Fig. 5. Brass jug, Benin.
Cat. No. 209561, 11 x 6 cm. Fig. 6. Cockbird,
Kano. Cat. No. 209555, 11 x 6 cm. Fig. 7.
Drinking cup, Benin. Cat. No. 209560, 11 x 7
cm. Fig. 8. Elephant, Kano. Cat. No. 209556,
9 x 9 cm. Fig. 9. Antelope, Kano. Cat. No.
List of Illustrations 369
209558, 17 x 14 cm. Fig. 10. Brass bell, Benin.
Cat. No. 209562, 14 x 7 cm.
C. Basketry. Fig. 1. Basket, red and black colors
inwoven, Buduma. Cat. No. 209510, 25 x 25 cm.
Fig. 2. Basket covered with cowrie shells, Kano.
Cat. No. 209156, 24 x 12 cm. Fig. 3. Raffia mat,
inwoven red and black patterns, Yoruba, Ibadan.
Cat. No. 209283, 37 x 21 cm. Fig. 4. Platter,
inwoven red and black designs, Buduma. Cat.
No. 209238, 30 x 30 cm. Fig. 5. Basket, checkered
design inwoven in red, blue, yellow, and green,
Yoruba, Ilorin. Cat. No. 209137, 27 x 18 cm.
Fig. 6. Raffia mat, red and black designs inwoven,
Yoruba, Ilorin. Cat. No. 209282, 36 x 21 cm.
CI. Implements, Paddles, and Weapons. Fig. 1. Wooden
paddle twirled by Ibo dancer, Onitsha. Cat. No.
209658, 130 x 11 cm. Fig. 2. Iron scoop for cleaning
out contents of gourds, Sokoto. Cat. No. 209668,
75 x 3 cm. Fig. 3. Curved knife for carving gourds,
Ogbomosho. Cat. No. 209671, 24 x 5 cm. Fig. 4.
Blacksmith's anvil, Iseyin. Cat. No. 209386,
19 x 17 cm. Fig. 5. Saw for cutting gourds, Sokoto.
Cat. No. 209670, 52 x 4 cm. Fig. 6. Harpoon,
Buduma, Lake Chad. Cat. No. 209535; barbed
head, 17 x 3 cm. Fig. 7. Barbed spear, Buduma.
Cat. No. 209496, 34 x 2 cm. Fig. 8. Blacksmith's
tongs, Iseyin. Cat. No. 209382, 36 x 4 cm. Fig. 9.
Jekri paddle, Sapele. Cat. No. 209660, 134 x 11 cm.
CI I. Wooden Masks, Ife. Fig. 1. Fopo, a dead warrior
of renown. Fig. 2. Jogbo, a famous spear-thrower,
CIII. Making Pottery, Ogbomosho. Fig. 1. Smoothing
pots. Fig. 2. Kiln ready for firing.
CIV. Making Pottery, Ogbomosho. Fig. 1. Polishing pot
with pebble. Fig. 2. Firing insides of pots.
CV. Pottery Industry, Kano, Fig. 1. Pounder for beating
clay. Fig. 2. Stick for molding pots.
CVI. Pottery Industry, Kano. Fig. 1. Base of pot com-
pleted. Fig. 2. Baked pots.
List of Illustrations
CVII. Spinning and Winding Cotton, Iseyin. Fig. 1.
Spinning. Fig. 2. Winding.
CVIII. Winding and Weaving Cotton, Iseyin. Fig. 1. Wind-
ing. Fig. 2. The weavers' shed.
CIX. Dyeing Cloth, Iseyin. Fig. 1. Old woman in charge
of dye pots. Fig. 2. Finished cloth dyed with
CX. Making Cloth, Kano. Fig. 1. Beating cloth on log.
Fig. 2. Indigo dye pits in market.
CXI. Making Cloth. Fig. 1. Male weaver, Kano. Fig. 2.
Yoruba girls, Ilorin, wearing cloth made by natives.
CXII. Making Baskets, Kano. Fig. 1. Basket-maker's
booth. Fig. 2. Making coiled basketry.
CXI II. Nigerian Occupations. Fig. 1. Ibo men building
house, Onitsha. Fig. 2. Mat made by Nupe, Bida.
CXIV. Kano Market. Fig. 1. Oven for roasting skewers of
meat. Fig. 2. Sword-makers.
CXV. Views, Benin. Fig. 1. School of handicrafts. Fig. 2.
Obba under state umbrella.
CXVI. Nigerian Occupations. Fig. 1. Fishing with weir,
Maiduguri. Fig. 2. Blind rope-maker, Nupe, Bida.
CXVII. Nupe Man, Bida. Fig. 1. Front view. Fig. 2. Side
CXVIII. Physical Types. Fig. 1. Hairdressing of Bini woman,
Benin. Fig. 2. Sobo man and woman, Sapele.
CXIX. Physical Types. Fig. 1. Bini man, Benin. Fig. 2.
Man, Bema tribe, near Gombe.
CXX. Jekri Man, Sapele. Fig. 1. Front view. Fig. 2. Side
CXXI. Bini Man, Benin. Fig. 1. Front view. Fig. 2. Side
CXXII. Egba Man, Abeokuta. Fig. 1. Front view. Fig. 2.
CXXIII. Two Yoruba Types, Ogbomosho.
CXX IV. Scarification. Fig. 1. Munshi man, Katsina Ala.
Fig. 2. Angas man, Pankshin.
CXXV. Scarified Munshi Women, Katsina Ala. Fig. 1.
Successful scarification. Fig. 2. Septic scarification.
List of Illustrations
CXXVI. Munshi Tribe, Katsina Ala. Fig. 1. Woman display-
ing arm and leg ornaments. Fig. 2. Typical house.
CXXVII. Keri-Keri Men, Potiskum. Fig. 1. Front view.
Fig. 2. Back view.
CXXVI II. Women, Angas Tribe, Pankshin. Fig. 1. Front view.
Fig. 2. Back view.
CXXIX. Plateau Tribes. Fig. 1. Gwozo man, Maiduguri.
Fig. 2. Angas man and women, near Pankshin.
CXXX. Musicians, Pankshin. Fig. 1. Two principal dancers.
Fig. 2. Chief instrumentalists with drum and horns.
CXXX I. Hausa Woman, Kano. Fig. 1. Head and shoulders.
Fig. 2. Full-length portrait.
CXXXII. Male Hausa, Kano. Fig. 1. Front view. Fig. 2.
CXXXIII. Views, Kano. Fig. 1. Dwarf, Kano market. Fig. 2.
Hausa man, Kano.
CXXXIV. Bolewa Woman of Emir's House, Potiskum. Fig. 1.
Front view. Fig. 2. Side view.
CXXXV. Fulani Whipping Ceremony, near Shendam. Fig. 1.
Chiefs. Fig. 2. Girls.
CXXXVI. Fulani, near Shendam. Fig. 1. Flogging ceremony.
Fig. 2. Female spectators of ceremony.
CXXXVIJ. Man, Sara Tribe, Lake Chad. Fig. 1. Front view.
Fig. 2. Side view.
CXXXVIII. Tooth Mutilation, near Lake Chad. Fig. 1. Man,
Banana tribe. Fig. 2. Man, Sara tribe.
CXXXIX. Shuwa Arab Girl, Maiduguri. Fig. 1. Front view.
Fig. 2. Side view.
CXL. Physical Types, near Lake Chad. Fig. 1. Buduma
man, Baya Seyarum. Fig. 2. Shuwa Arab girl,
CXLI. Buduma Women, Baya Seyarum, Lake Chad.
CXLII. Architecture, Kano. Fig. 1. External molding.
Fig. 2. Molding of ceiling.
CXLIII. Buduma Tribe, Baya Seyarum, Lake Chad. Fig. 1.
Papyrus reed canoe. Fig. 2. Fighting behind shields.
CXLIV. Near Lake Chad. Fig. 1. Buduma traders with
natron, Baya Seyarum. Fig. 2. Ox of chief,
List of Illustrations
CXLV. Transport by Oxen. Fig. 1. In Kano market, Nigeria.
Fig. 2. At Maradi, French Niger Territory.
CXLVI. In French Niger Territory. Fig. 1. Buzu, Maradi.
Fig. 2. Building a house, Tahoua.
CXLVII. Professional Wrestlers, Tahoua. Fig. 1. The group.
Fig. 2. The match.
CXLVIII. Yoruba Hairdressing. Fig. 1. Barber shaving boy's
head, Ogbomosho. Fig. 2. Woman dressing hair,
CXLIX. Yoruba Musicians. Fig. 1. Drummers, Ogbomosho.
Fig. 2. Playing drum and algaita, Ibadan.
CL. Southwest Nigeria. Fig. 1. Writing Koranic texts,
Bida, Nupe tribe. Fig. 2. Yoruba blacksmith,
CLI. Hunting and Personal Ornament. Fig. 1. Munshi
hunter, Katsina Ala. Fig. 2. Woman, Tahoua,
French Niger Territory.
CLII. Entertainers, Sokoto Market. Fig. 1. Dancing man.
Fig. 2. Old musician.
CLIII. Emir's Bodyguard, Potiskum. Fig. 1. Soldier wear-
ing padded armor. Fig. 2. Guardsman protected
by chain mail.
CLIV. Benin and Ife. Fig. 1. Priests in charge of sacred
grove, Ife. Fig. 2. Old moat, Benin.
CLV. Nigerian Cults. Fig. 1. Sacred white crocodile,
Ibadan. Fig. 2. Grove, Ife, sacred to Ogun, patron
CLVI. Sacred Objects, Ife. Fig. 1. Terra cotta head of
Lajawa. Fig. 2. Stone figure of Olofe-finra, Idena
CLVII. Sacred Grove, Ife. Fig. 1. Priests opening box of
terra cotta heads. Fig. 2. Close view of heads.
CLVIII. Interior of Temple of God of Thunder, Ibadan.
CLIX. Architecture, Kano. Fig. 1. General view. Fig. 2.
Old city wall and gateway.
CLX. Northern Nigeria. Fig. 1. School in market, Kano.
Fig. 2. Emir of Fika with British staff of office.
Owing to the generosity of Mr. Frederick H. Rawson, of Chicago,
Field Museum of Natural History was able to organize the
Frederick H. Rawson-Field Museum Ethnological Expedition to
West Africa, 1929-30. I was appointed as leader.
The former part of the expeditionary work was carried out in
Angola (Portuguese West Africa). The expedition in Angola has
formed the subject of a separate report (The Ovimbundu of Angola,
No. 2 of this volume, 1934) ; therefore this monograph relates only
The results of the Nigerian journey of 5,000 miles are due largely
to the hearty cooperation of the British Colonial and Foreign
offices. Sir Frank M. Baddeley, Chief Secretary to the Government,
received me at the Secretariat in Lagos where the assistance of the
Under Secretary for Native Affairs and of the officers of the Public
Works Department was secured.
Sir Richmond Palmer, K.C.M.G., C.B.E., Lieutenant-Governor
of Nigeria, took a close personal interest in the expedition. Expert
assistance in transportation was given by officers of the Niger
Company and the Barber West Africa Line. Thanks are due to
Residents, District Officers, and other officials of Nigeria and French
Mr. T. C. Bramley deserves the hearty thanks of the expedition
for his skill and interest in mechanical transport, in which he is
adept, and for his general enthusiasm and reliability. Drawings
of objects collected have been prepared by Mr. Carl F. Gronemann,
Staff Illustrator of Field Museum. A note of appreciation would
be incomplete without recognition of the services of three Hausa
servants engaged at Sokoto. These men accompanied me into French
Niger Territory, eastward to Lake Chad, and back to Lagos. Their
capacity for work, general interest, and sense of humor contributed
to the success and pleasant recollections of the expedition.
The object of this report is an examination of the distribution
of cultures in Nigeria. In a preliminary chapter these are shown to
depend to a great extent on geographical and climatic factors.
Archaeological and historical chapters describe racial movements,
the founding of centers of culture, the influence of these on sur-
rounding areas, and the blending of cultures as a result of migrations
The chapter describing industries is primarily intended to be
of service to museum curators who are concerned with technology.
But in conclusion the information relating to industries is combined
with geographical and historical data in order to make a study of
the distributions of various types of culture, including those of the
southern forests, the central plateau, and the northern savannas.
Sociological and psychological studies are admittedly desirable
in making ethnology a science of practical importance, since such in-
quiries show the functioning of a culture, together with the problems
and adjustments that are necessitated by a conflict of social forces.
Yet it seems undeniable that history, geography, and pure ethnology
must be regarded as fundamental. For although technical knowledge
will not make a successful administrator or teacher, yet a broad back-
ground is the logical approach to studies of behavior on which
educators and administrators increasingly rely. With this idea in
mind I have endeavored to give an analysis of data which will provide
an introduction to more detailed social studies.
Wilfrid Dyson Hambly
CULTURE AREAS OF NIGERIA
Nigeria has an area of about 363,625 square miles situated between
4° and 14° N. Lat., and 3° and 14° E. Long. On the west is the
French possession of Dahomey, while French territory extends along
the northern border through the region from Lake Chad to Timbuktu
and from that point to the river Gambia. On the east of Nigeria
lies the Cameroon. The south of Nigeria is bounded by the Bight
of Benin and the Bight of Biafra. It is evident, therefore, that the
south coast is close to the equator, being only 4° north of that line,
while the whole country is within the northern tropic.
The two chief rivers are the Niger and its tributary, the Benue.
The former, which is a great commercial highway, enters Nigeria
on the northwestern frontier, continues in a southeasterly direction,
then flows due south to the Atlantic Ocean, which it enters by in-
numerable mouths that form a vast, swampy delta. The Benue,
which has considerable seasonal variation in depth, is a great natural
highway from Yola in the far east of Nigeria to Lokoja, the point
of its confluence with the Niger.
Lake Chad is an extensive stretch of water receiving the drainage
system of northeast Nigeria. The shallowness of the lake, which
permits easy poling of canoes, has led to an exchange of peoples and
products in this region. Within the memory of men now living on
the western shore of the lake, the water stretched farther to the
west. The nature of the black mud surrounding the western shore
for many miles suggests that a deep deposit was laid down by the
The elevation of Nigeria increases from the coast northward.
Sokoto, in the far northwest, is about 1,100 feet above sea level.
Kano has an elevation of 1,500 feet. Maiduguri is situated on the
contour 1,180 feet. Lake Chad is about 800 feet above the sea,
but Ibi occupies a low elevation of only 350 feet. The greatest
elevation is attained in the Bauchi plateau, an extensive, rugged
region having a mean altitude of 4,000 feet.
Influential as these differences may be in considering culture
patterns and contacts, climate and its attendant zones of vegetation
are still more important in determining such occupations as agricul-
ture, cattle-keeping, horse-breeding, and the use of camels.
376 Culture Areas of Nigeria
When making the expeditionary journey from Lagos northward
to Tahoua on the border of the Sahara Desert, four distinct areas
of rainfall and vegetation were crossed. The coastal portion of
Nigeria is part of a more extensive region of heavy rainfall and dense
tropical bush, stretching from the Gambia River eastward along the
coast of the Gulf of Guinea. This area fills a large part of Cameroon,
then extends over the whole of the Congo basin. The whole coastal
belt of Nigeria for a distance of about two hundred miles inland
is but a section of this extensive region whose cultures, following the
determining and limiting climatic factors, show many resemblances.
As one travels northward from Ibadan, considerable thinning of
the bush is observed until at Bida many extensive stretches of
magnificent undulating country are seen. The most correct impres-
sion of the coastal jungle belt is obtained by sailing along the creeks
near Sapele and Benin, or by observing the mud-flat vegetation and
island dwellings when proceeding up the Bonny River to Port
By the time Kaduna is reached a representative sample of the
open savanna country is seen. This grassland, sometimes named
parkland, stretches across Africa in a broad belt from the west coast
to the region of the Great Lakes in east Africa.
Gradually the vegetation becomes more sparse as the journey
proceeds northward, dense clusters of trees are less frequently seen,
and by the time Zinder is reached a semi-desert type of vegetation
including euphorbias, baobabs, and prickly acacias is observed.
The semi-desert belt has an extent corresponding to that of the
parkland; that is to say, it lies across Africa from the Senegal to
The grassland and semi-desert belts have been of the greatest
importance in mass migrations across Africa from east to west,
while at the present time there is constant communication along this
route by oxen, camels, and horses. Into this grassland and semi-
desert extend the routes of the trans-Saharan caravans.
At Tahoua, in French Niger Territory, about 15° north of the
equator, the true desert begins. Oxen are still employed for trans-
port, but Tahoua is the northerly limit of their use for long distance
trekking. From Tahoua a camel track stretches northward to
Agades near the mountains of Asben. The Sahara, with its alternat-
ing sand dunes, stony desert, and rocky hills, merges gradually into
semi-desert on the northern extremity. This almost imperceptibly
changes to the warm temperate hilly regions of Algeria and Morocco.
Nigeria has three distinct ecological regions: the densely forested
coastal region, a median parkland section, and a northern region of
semi-desert. These areas of characteristic flora have closely
correlated rainfalls. The wooded coastal region has an annual fall
of one hundred inches or more. Gradually this supply decreases in
a northward direction, with attendant thinning of vegetation and a
gradual substitution of one type of flora for another. Between 8°
and 14° N. Lat. the annual rainfall is forty-five inches or less.
The heaviest rainfall occurs from April to October when large
quantities of moisture are brought by southwest winds which become
dry as they proceed north. In this season tornadoes are prevalent.
The harmattan is a dry wind from the northeast which affects the
whole of Nigeria from Lake Chad to the coast. In the months of
November and December this wind, which is hot by day and cold
by night, sweeps the country from Kano to Lake Chad. The air
is thick with particles of dust which in the morning give the
appearance of a heavy mist, and sometimes this condition persists
throughout the day (W. Fitzgerald, rainfall map, p. 358).
This brief survey of ecological regions serves as an introduction
to the details of history, industrial life, and the distribution of types
of culture, all of which have resulted in great measure from the
The expeditionary route passed among tribes speaking the main
African languages. Sudanic languages of an isolating character are
spoken by the Yoruba, Nupe, Kanuri, Angas, Keri-Keri, and
Buduma. Semitic in the form of Arabic is the tongue of the Shuwa
Arabs near Lake Chad. Hausa is to some extent Hamitic, but tones
of semantic value that are present in Sudanic and Bantu Negro
languages are found also in Hausa. The Fulani language is classified
by C. Meinhof as Proto-Hamitic.
The following geographical facts are of fundamental importance
in the ensuing study of history and cultures of Nigeria:
(1) The open northern region allowed a free passage of people
across Africa. This resulted in a mixture of physical types, cultures,
and languages. Foci of culture were established in situations from
which, owing to the nature of the country, influences could radiate
in all directions.
(2) Warfare in the open northern spaces led to a segregation of
tribes on the central plateau. Among the hills of this region are
preserved cultural patterns differing notably from those to the north
and south of them.
378 Culture Areas of Nigeria
(3) Warfare and tribal movements in the north brought pressure
to bear on tribes, which were gradually forced into the dense forest
regions of the south. This process resulted in the intrusion of
Mohammedanism and other factors of a north African culture into
some Negro cultures of southern Nigeria.
(4) Rainfall, temperature, and the consequent types of flora have
affected industries. Thus, wood-carving is present in many centers
of the tropical forest, while leather work is characteristic of the
north where cattle are kept. The distribution of camels, horses,
and cattle is determined by humidity, the tsetse fly, and the density
of vegetation. All these climatic, topographical, and biological
factors are determinants of modes of life.
Although a considerable amount of systematic archaeological
work has been accomplished in Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, and south
Africa, the stone age of the continent as a whole has not been
historically and culturally explained. Reports and articles have
been written describing stone ruins and the discovery of stone
implements in many parts of Africa, but there remains a stupendous
task of excavating and correlating the data. Nigeria, and in fact
the whole region from Gambia to Cameroon, has produced evidence
of cultures in which stone circles, stone monuments, and stone
implements played an important part (see Bibliography: C. Monteil;
M. H. Labouret; H. Balfour; H. J. Braunholtz).
The archaeological evidence summarized by C. K. Meek (I,
vol. I, pp. 51-56) relates to stone implements and stone circles.
The Bauchi plateau has produced many examples of polished and
unpolished celts, round hammer-stones, and arrowheads. The stone
enclosures of Naraguta are similar to those in use by the Angas of
the present day. Such structures are used as granaries and cattle
kraals, and there is no reason to assume that disused stone buildings
are the work of a people who were radically different from the
tribes among whom such stone structures are found at present.
Some stone circles at Naraguta may have been built by early Jukun
Near Potiskum Captain F. G. B. Reynolds called my attention
to some pits, each having a main shaft about fifteen feet deep going
down vertically through a matrix of rock. From the bottom of the
main shafts there branched off at angles of 45° several narrow shafts
each about two feet in diameter. The origin of these pits is unknown
to the Fika and other present-day inhabitants; neither are the
suggestions postulating mining operations, refuge from foes, or
storage of grain, satisfactory explanations. In most instances the
excavators have hewn a shaft downward into a homogeneous mass
of rock. Possibly a need for storing water was the incentive to this
arduous work (F. G. B. Reynolds, II).
Polished celts have formed the subject of several articles. After
giving an account of the reverence paid to Shango throughout
Yorubaland, P. M. Dwyer states that celts are worshipped under
the name Adua. When the stones are first found they are said to
be recent messengers from Shango, the thunder god. If a house
380 Culture Areas of Nigeria
is destroyed by lightning the owner has to placate Shango, who has
shown his displeasure in this way.
If no house is struck by lightning the priest arranges that a fire
occurs so that he may have the opportunity of pretending to extract
a celt, or "thunderbolt," from the ruins. After the celt has been
carried away in a ceremonial manner the owner of the house pays
a fine to the priest, who then intercedes with Shango on his behalf.
H. Balfour (I), in speaking of a ceremonial celt, or "thunderbolt,"
from Benin, says, "It seems evident that this was an object of a
sacred character over which libations of blood, not necessarily
human, have been poured, and it is fair to conjecture that the stone
axe was primarily regarded as a 'thunderbolt' and as such was kept
in a,juju house or shrine as emblematic of the local thunder god."
F. W. H. Migeod (III, pp. 252-258) gives a description of thirty
stone artifacts which he found between Victoria and Yola, also near
the Benue and Cross rivers. The polished axes are noted for their
great size and fine finish, which he states to be superior to the
polishing of implements from the Gold Coast. Most of the stones
were found in a thin superficial layer of soil resting either on granite
rock or Eocene sandstone; consequently the depth of deposit does
not aid inquiry into antiquity.
The Handbook to the ethnographical collections of the British
Museum (p. 191) pictures stone mortars and rubbers which are
associated in native legends with an extinct tribe formerly called
Sau (or So) from the region south of Lake Chad. H. Gaden and
R. Verneau found polished stone celts and three associated crania in
this region. The authors express the opinion that discovery of a
greater amount of osteological material in a better state of preserva-
tion would have confirmed their opinion respecting the former
presence of a neolithic race differing from the present-day inhabitants
in somatic traits.
Statuettes of stone and clay have been found and described by
H. Neel, who gives particular attention to examples from Sherbro
Island and Liberia. The nomori human figures of the Mende are
said to be capable of giving fertility to the fields in which they are
placed, often under a small shelter where offerings of food are made.
If chastised, these figurines are said to go by night to steal rice from
fields adjacent to those of their owner. Neel thinks that some of
the statuettes are funerary figures because of the depression on the
top of the head. This hollow he surmises to be a hole for the escape
of a soul which had temporary residence in the stone figure. The
presence of an exaggerated phallus and Semitic features suggest to
Neel a Phoenician origin.
According to T. A. Joyce (II) no information is available with
regard to the makers of nomori figures, but assumption of great
antiquity is not necessary. Joyce is convinced that some of the
figurines are modern since they correspond closely with present-day
wood-carvings. Constant tribal incursions into this region where
nomori figurines are now found might account for a rapid disappear-
ance of the art of making them. The softness of the stone from which
the figures are shaped facilitates weathering, and for this reason the
erosions and abrasions may erroneously suggest antiquity.
R. S. Rattray (III, pp. 322-331) discusses the antiquity of
polished stone implements in Ashanti. These implements are
associated with the cult of Nyame, the Sky God, from whom they
are supposed to have originated, and many people believe that this
divine origin gives the stones peculiar power. But some of the
older inhabitants know that the stones are the work of human
hands, and that they were used by former generations of the Ashanti
at a fairly recent period. Rattray's informant stated that the long
celts were used as hoes at a time when iron hoes were also employed.
Nevertheless, there exists a general belief that celts popularly
thought to be thunderbolts may be fastened against the body to
cure disease, or they may be ground to powder and drunk in water
with beneficial effect. Rattray concludes by saying that in his
opinion "transition from the neolithic to the iron age was not
sudden. The stone implement and the iron one that was eventually
to oust it must have been for a time used side by side in forest and
Stone circles of Gambia have been studied by both British and
French investigators. H. Parker states that lithic remains in the
Gambia Valley belong to two categories which are apparently
unconnected. There are circles of worked stone pillars, and in
addition to the circles occur menhirs, or single pillars, often erected
far away from the circles. The rate at which the soil rises to cover
the fallen pillars is not known, but some of the pillars may have
been erected many centuries ago, for the accumulation of earth is
considerable. Owing to a great difference between day and night
temperatures, weathering and cracking of the stone is rapid, a fact
that emphasizes the need for caution in estimating antiquity.
The earliest known inhabitants of the Gambia region are the
Seres and the Jolas, two agricultural tribes which came from the east
382 Culture Areas of Nigeria
along the Niger Valley; whether any earlier inhabitants were expelled
is not known. At present the Yolofs associate these stone circles
with the Earth Spirit, and a strong prejudice prevails against any
attempt to make archaeological investigations.
After a detailed survey Parker suggests that a Phoenician origin
of these two types of stone monuments is possible. Yet no great
immigration need be assumed, since the arrival of a small number
of Carthaginians would account for the artifacts. Such a theory
explains the excellence of the workmanship, the elliptical and car-
touche-shaped forms, and the cutting of holes for the oil and wick
of lamps. Acceptance of a Carthaginian origin would require a
date between 570 B.C. and 147 B.C. The statement that the country
was in an iron age when the stone circles were first built rests on the
evidence afforded by a barbed iron spearhead, which was discovered
in undisturbed soil within a stone circle. The question of a Cartha-
ginian influence in the region from Gambia to Nigeria will recur
when the stone monuments of Ife are described (chapter V).
The archaeological work of L. Desplagnes leads him to agree
with Rattray's opinion that stone implements are not necessarily
of great antiquity. Desplagnes gives an account of the excavation
of tumuli in which stone and iron implements occur together, and he
has no doubt that the use of stone was prolonged into the age of iron.
Similarity in the forms of stone implements over widely separated
areas of Africa and other parts of the world has given rise to
hypotheses of extensive racial migrations in prehistoric times. The
artifacts which are compared have, however, great simplicity of
form, and this fact favors the possibility that round, lanceolate,
and ovate types of instruments would be likely to occur independently
because of the effectiveness of their shapes. Desplagnes attributes
the stone implements of the Nigerian plateau to the earliest of the
Hamitico-Libyan excursions, which extended from the east to
the west of Africa. An article by P. Laforgue discusses several of
the hypotheses mentioned in this chapter.
Only two points seem clear with regard to the stone monuments
and stone implements of Nigeria. There is no necessity to assume
great antiquity for stone implements since these probably were
used along with iron implements, neither is there reason to postulate
the intrusion and settlement of makers of stone implements who
have no phylogenetic connection with present-day inhabitants.
Further, an inspection of the stone monuments at Ife, and a
perusal of the literature describing stone circles and monoliths in
Gambia, leaves the impression that there is no reason for attributing
all these works in stone to one people or to one period. On
the contrary the regional differences of style suggest that lithic
origins will have to be considered as a series of local problems.
Some correlation may be possible later; at present no justification
exists for describing the human figure-stones of Ife, the stone circles
of Gambia, and the stonework of the Bauchi plateau, as homogeneous
evidence suggesting only one intrusion of builders. The whole
of the archaeological evidence from west Africa is much too
scanty to give definite information with regard to the physical types
and cultures of prehistoric inhabitants of the region. But despite
the inconclusive nature of the archaeological evidence some reliable
information may be derived from a study of somatology, languages,
and culture patterns.
III. HISTORY AND EXPLORATION
The Prehistoric Period
In his "Descent of Man" Charles Darwin favored Africa as the
place of origin of the Negro, but a commonly accepted hypothesis
has regarded southern Asia as the original home of mankind, where
racial types began to differentiate and to spread, not only toward
Africa but in several other directions. Yet the ultimate origin of
Negroes remains unknown, and the phylogenetic relations of Negroes
to Pygmies, Bushmen, and Hottentots is not understood.
But, as a working hypothesis which is consonant with the known
facts of somatology, languages, and cultural patterns, ethnologists
regard the region of northeast Africa near Lake Victoria Nyanza
as a focus from which Negro tribes were forced westward. The
probable line of migration was along the northern edge of the Congo
basin, skirting the dense tropical forest and making use of the broad
tract of parkland and semi-desert that extends across Africa from
east to west. This route has long been accessible to migrants
and armies who took advantage of the wet seasons and knew the
locations of wells.
Westerly migrations of Negro tribes were probably due to the
entry into northeast Africa of successive waves of Proto-Hamites
who differed in physique, language, and culture from the Negro
aboriginals. Archaeological and osteological evidence of these early
arrivals has been excavated and discussed by L. S. B. Leakey.
Hamites occupied the Nile Valley and linguistically as well as somati-
cally became an important element in the formation of an Egyptian
type. The modern Somali, also the Beja and the Hadendoa of Red
Sea Province are eastern Hamitic types, while the Libyans (Berbers)
and the Tuareg are typical of the northern Hamites. Hypothesis,
which is extremely conjectural, suggests that Hamitic incursions
have been taking place from 10,000 B.C. and even from more remote
times up to datable periods. But the Asiatic origin of Hamites is
not finally determined, and G. A. Barton, basing his views chiefly
on linguistic evidence, favors an African origin of Hamites. The
inferential testimony of the Hamitic languages has been examined
by C. Meinhof, C. Brockelmann, and W. Vycichl.
The general opinion seems to be that these immigrants, who
became linguistically, somatically, and culturally differentiated under
several names in northern and eastern Africa, arrived in successive
History and Exploration 385
waves. Gradually the most typical Negro tribes, with distinctive
physique and languages, were forced into the least favorable situa-
tions of the coastal regions of Nigeria and farther west Africa. The
Kru of Liberia, also the Ibo and the Ijaw of Nigeria, are typical
Negroes, thick set, prognathous, and having thick everted lips and
a high nasal index (Plates CXX, CXXI).
Bantu-speaking Negroes are usually thought to have had their
origin in the region of Lake Victoria, whence they spread westward
into the central Congo region and Cameroon. Such migrations have
caused a mixture of Bantu and Negro tongues, which in eastern
Nigeria and the adjacent Cameroon are known as the Semi-Bantu
languages. The evidence for Bantu migrations, some of which have
occurred within recent centuries, rests on native traditions, mythol-
ogy, somatological traits, the structure of languages, and comparison
of cultural traits.
The prehistory and early datable history of west Africa, from
the seventh century onward, is complicated by the intrusion of
Semitic elements. Before the Islamic period Semites from Arabia
entered northeast Africa, spread into the Nile Valley, and extended
westward along the whole length of north Africa. Semitic influence,
both Islamic and pre-Islamic, has determined the culture of the
Kababish of Kordofan, while Semitic influences have affected Nigeria,
on which they have converged from the eastern Sudan and Lake
Chad. Semitic migrations and cultural influences from north Africa
have passed across the Sahara to Timbuktu, Kano, and the province
The most penetrating Islamic migrations have been those of the
seventh and the eleventh centuries of the Christian era, and of these
the conquests of the latter period are the more important. Apart
from great movements of historical note, Arabs have traveled
widely over north and east Africa as merchants and slave raiders.
The evidence for Semitic movements from the seventh century on-
ward is adduced from written documents prepared by Arabian
geographers and travelers whose contributions are discussed later.
The somatic influence of Semitic intrusions has been estimated by
C. G. Seligman (II, pp. 213-237) who thinks the cultural impact
of Arabs far more important than the physical admixture.
These racial movements have to be taken into account when
considering the physique, languages, and industries of Nigeria. In
addition to these main movements there is, especially among the
Yoruba, what appears to be an intrusive non-Negro culture; this
386 Culture Areas of Nigeria
pattern has features of a Phoenician and Greco-Roman type, and
among the Jukun rites pertaining to kingship are of an ancient
From east to west along the coast of Nigeria the occurrence of
several linguistic groups may be noted. To the southwest of Cross
River live tribes of Bantu speech, while west of these extends an
area of Semi-Bantu speech. P. A. Talbot regards the I jaw tribe,
which is situated on each side of the Niger Delta, as typical Negroes
who have preserved a pure Negro speech that has existed from
ancient times. He states that "I jaw is the earliest of all the Nigerian
languages." This evidence agrees with the postulated forcing of
early Negro inhabitants toward the coast.
The Niger divides the Ibo to the east of the river from the Edo
on the western bank, and still farther west are the Yoruba. The
languages of these tribes are not yet studied in detail but the knowl-
edge that is available supports the theory that the earliest Negro
inhabitants are now represented by the maritime tribes.
According to C. K. Meek (I, vol. II, pp. 132-137) there exist
more than two hundred and thirty different languages in the Northern
Provinces, and of these less than ten are adequately represented in
grammars and dictionaries. This statement explains our present
difficulty in classifying the languages and using the linguistic
groups to support a hypothesis of prehistoric migrations.
In turning to the evidence afforded by physical anthropology
the paucity of anthropometric data has to be admitted, yet the
photographs show certain fundamental types and their blendings
(Plates CXVII-CXLI). These will be more fully discussed in
succeeding chapters. Cultural differences, together with the geo-
graphical and historical determinants of these, will be examined in
A method of culture analysis which showed the existence of
several well-defined modes of life in Africa was used by A. de Preville
in 1894. Since that time the method has been used by Clark Wissler
in delimiting North American Indian cultures, while African modes
of life have been classified and examined by M. J. Herskovits and
by R. Thurnwald.
The technique of delimiting culture areas and the fallacies that
may arise from a too rigid application of the method have been dis-
cussed by Carter A. Woods (Amer. Anthr., XXXVI, 1934, pp.
517-523). R. Benedict (Patterns of Culture, Philadelphia, 1934,
p. 46) likewise cautions that "the significance of culture behavior
History and Exploration 387
is not exhausted when we have clearly understood that it is local,
man made, and hugely variable. ... It tends also to be integrated.
Cultures are more than the sum of their traits."
Admittedly, analyses of cultures may give rise to generalizations
of dubious value, and the method may be too static. Moreover,
human nature, considered both individually and collectively, is
determined by many variables, some of which, for example, those
concerned with motivation, conflict, and adjustment, are not well
understood socially or psychologically. Therefore, the geographical
and historical method used here for Nigeria as a whole is no more
than a preliminary approach to future research concerning the
tribal behavior and the social institutions of smaller geographical
and ethnic units.
History of the Northern Provinces
Ethnologists are not entirely dependent on the inferential
testimony of languages, somatic traits, and culture distributions.
The Arabic manuscripts of Ibn Edrisi, Ibn Batuta, Ibn Khaldun,
and Leo Africanus give valuable evidence respecting conflicts, the
rise and decline of Sudanic empires, trade routes, and migrations.
These data have been critically examined by Sir H. R. Palmer,
M. Delafosse, and E. W. Bovill, whose work entitled "Caravans of
the Old Sahara," is an excellent summary of historical facts from the
seventh century onward. C. Monteil has examined the archaeo-
logical and historical evidence connected with Djenne\ an ancient
Ghana (Kumbi) appears to have been the most ancient political
center of the western Sudan. Founded about the third century of
the Christian era, the state owed its power to non-Negro tribes who
flourished until the middle of the thirteenth century, when Ghana
was razed by Mandingo conquerors.
The state of Songhai in the bend of the Niger had as principal
towns Kukia, and later Gas. During several centuries the states
of Ghana and Songhai flourished simultaneously, with the latter
in a secondary position of strength and political influence. The
rulers of Songhai are thought to have been of Himyaritic, Libyan,
or Nilotic extraction. Much of the history of Songhai is intimately
connected with the powerful kingdom of Melle built up by the
Mandingo. Melle reached an acme of power in the period 1308-31,
at which time the empire covered the whole of the western Sudan
including the state of Songhai and the Tuareg town of Timbuktu.
388 Culture Areas of Nigeria
Ibn Batuta, who visited Melle in 1352, makes clear that the Melle
empire was the most important political, religious, and commercial
center in the Sudan. Even today some settlements of Kano, Katsina,
Zaria, and Bauchi, all of which are in Nigeria, are traceable to the
influence of Melle, which was an unrivaled stronghold of the
By the end of the fifteenth century Melle had been overthrown
and had been succeeded by Songhai, which in turn was devastated
in 1591 by a large army from Morocco. E. W. Bovill's account
(I) of the Moorish invasion describes the way in which El Mansur
set out from north Africa in the year 1581. The great wealth of
the western Sudan was well known to Mediterranean peoples, but
the Sahara Desert was a natural barrier separating the two regions.
Between Morocco and Songhai keen rivalry existed for the salt
mines of Teghaza. Of the march of Mansur's army across the
desert details are lacking, but the enterprise must be classed with
the great military achievements of history. Bovill's summary of
events describes the attack on Songhai, the defeat, and partial
recovery of the Songhai empire; also the final overthrow.
The struggles of these rival kingdoms of the western Sudan
emphasize the importance of geographical factors in the building of
empires. From the bend of the Niger to Lake Chad no obstacles
prevent a free movement of horse and foot soldiers, camel corps,
and transport by oxen; therefore, military operations were not
impeded except by intermittent drought.
Synchronizing with this rise and fall of empires in the western
Sudan, similar political, racial, and cultural movements occurred
far to the east, in the neighborhood of Lake Chad. At one time
Kanem was a center of political power which later became known
as Bornu. Probably Kanem was an incipient kingdom in the period
a.d. 800-1100. El Bekri had heard of Kanem in the middle of the
eleventh century, and in the thirteenth century Ibn Said refers to
Bornu as forming part of the Kanem empire. The empire of Bornu
was engaged in combat with the So, a tall race of Nilotic invaders
possibly having some resemblance to the present Jukun.
The rise, consolidation, and expansion of Bornu have formed one
of the most important chapters of Nigerian history. Gradually
Kanem became a subject province, and following this, expeditions
were successfully launched against the Tuareg of Asben, likewise
against Hausa strongholds in Kano, Sokoto, Katsina, and Daura.
History and Exploration 389
After discussing the evidence afforded by the Asben Chronicle
and the Katsina Manuscript, with due regard to equivocal evidence
respecting dates, and the names of people and places, Palmer
(V, vol. Ill, p. 95) states: "The central fact is that about a.d. 1000
the Hausa states were occupied by Barbar races (Beri-Beri) coming
from the east and the north. These races ruled, though at different
periods, and as tributaries to Songhai and Bornu, until displaced
by the Fulani in 1807. . . . The name Hausa is the one by which
the Barbars of the Sahara, who were the conquering races possibly
under Egyptian, and later Arab influence, knew the Sudanese
At the beginning of the nineteenth century Bornu was a well-
organized and powerful state which maintained prestige notwith-
standing a temporary conquest by the Wadaians, who were eventually
defeated. Omar ruled as Shehu of Bornu until his death in 1880;
consequently, he became acquainted with the explorers Barth,
Vogel, Rohlfs, Richardson, and Nachtigal. The origin of the present-
day Kanuri tribes of Bornu is not known, though they probably
entered Bornu in the fourteenth century. The Keri-Keri are a
modern branch of the tribes who developed into the Kanuri, while
the Bolewa, a ruling tribe near Potiskum, arrived with the pre-
Kanuri (Plates CXXVII, CXXXIV).
The date 1814 is important because of the founding of Kukawa,
the new capital of Bornu, a city which was later (1893) destroyed
by Rabeh, a conqueror from Kordofan. Rabeh made his new capital
at Dikwa, where he continued to rule and pillage until defeated and
killed by French forces in the year 1900. The political significance
of Rabeh's exploits has been described by M. F. von Oppenheim.
The Fulani, who are known in various parts of west Africa as
Fulas, Fulbe, Fellata, and Peule, have played an important part
in the history of Bornu and other parts of Nigeria. The ethnological
affinities of the Fulani are undecided. They appear (Plates CXXXV,
CXXXVI) to have a distinctly Berber-like appearance, and the
features of some individuals are of an Armenoid type. Palmer favors
the hypothesis of an origin which includes a mingling of Jewish,
Arab, and Zaghawa (Cushite) blood. C. K. Meek believes that
the Fulani may be an ancient Libyan (northern Hamitic) tribe.
Delafosse has a theory of Judaeo-Syrian origin, but most ethnologists
agree on the Hamitic affinities of the Fulani, both somatically and
linguistically, though the speech is probably an early form of Hamitic.
390 Culture Areas of Nigeria
Despite the doubtful origin of the Fulani, their function as makers
of Nigerian history is clear in outline. The Fulani penetrated Nigeria
peacefully and gradually from the thirteenth century onward. But
this settlement as pastoral people was followed by a demand for
political power. To a great extent the Fulani are nomads, yet they
settled and concentrated their forces sufficiently to establish their
foci by conquest.
In 1808 the Fulani subdued the Hausa states, after which they
unsuccessfully assailed Bornu. The nineteenth century history of
the Yoruba and the Nupe of southern Nigeria is concerned with
their struggle to keep out Fulani assailants. Between 1817 and 1823
Ilorin was added to the Fulani empire, which comprised several
loosely confederated states, all of which paid tribute to the Fulani
of Sokoto. The Fulani empire experienced internal rebellions, civil
wars, decline of the Islamic fervor that had been an incentive to
conquest, and a breaking down of military organization. The
final overthrow of the Fulani states was effected by the British
Government, which took action in the period 1900-1903, after
the Royal Niger Company had defeated the Fulani rulers of Bida
This outline of historical events emphasizes the importance of
the following facts:
(1) There was a constant drift of Hamiticized peoples from the
east of Africa to the province of Bornu in northeast Nigeria.
(2) Invasions from the Sahara occurred. The intruders came
from Barbar and Semitic tribes of Morocco, Air (Asben), Tibesti,
(3) The invaders established great empires in the western Sudan,
and from the eighth century onward Mohammedanism became a
political and social factor that stimulated warlike enterprises.
(4) The rivalry of the empires of the western Sudan led to
fluctuations of population, establishment of foci of culture, and
migration of religious, social, and economic cultural traits.
(5) Great cultural and political pressure was exerted from the
north of Nigeria on the southern provinces.
History of the Southern Provinces
The migration of Negroes from east to west Africa has, according
to hypothesis, formed a physical, linguistic, and cultural foundation
best seen in the Ijaw, Ibibio, Ibo, Munshi, and Ekoi. On this
History and Exploration 391
substratum of Negro culture new physical, linguistic, and cultural
elements have been imposed. These traits, added to the basic layer
of Negro culture, are most clearly seen when studying the Yoruba,
Nupe, and Jukun tribes. Furthermore, within the Yoruba culture,
highly specialized local cultures such as those of Benin, Ife, and
Oyo have developed. The city of Bida represents a cultural focus
of this kind which is typical of the Nupe civilization. Wukari is
a center of Jukun culture, which according to the views of C. K.
Meek has borrowed cultural elements from Egyptian civilization.
However, the borrowed elements may be generically Hamitic and
not specifically Egyptian.
Although the civilization of the Yoruba has its distinguishing
marks there would be no difficulty in showing well-defined cultural
relationships between Ashanti, Dahomey, and Yorubaland, whose
cultures have had their foci at Kumasi, Abomey, and Benin respec-
tively. Such relationships are made clear by comparative study of
Rattray's "Ashanti"; Dalzel's "History of Dahomey"; Skertchly's
"Dahomey as It Is"; Le Heriss6's "L'ancien royaume du Dahomey";
Johnson's "History of the Yorubas"; and Herskovits' "Outline of
Dahomean Religious Belief."
The history of the Yoruba is a long and complicated story having
three main aspects; namely, warfare with Dahomey, civil warfare
among the main centers of Yoruban power and culture, and strife
against northern Mohammedan invasions. To these events might
be added resistance to European intrusion.
An examination of cultural traits which give the Yoruba civiliza-
tion a distinctive pattern is made in chapter V. Talbot (I, vol. I,
p. 19) attributes the features which distinguish Yoruban culture
from that of other west African Negroes to the influence of racial
and cultural elements from the Nile Valley. A succession of migra-
tions from the northeast appears probable, the hypothetical sequence
being early Yoruban, Nupe, and Jukun at undated periods. The
cultural and racial intrusions of a non-Negro character are attributed
by Talbot to disturbances in Egypt at the time of the Hyksos
invasion, about 1800 B.C.
S. Johnson outlines four periods of Yoruba history. A long
mythological period is represented in oral traditions kept by the
king's officials who have charge of genealogies and historical records.
These data comprise an almost inextricable confusion of fact and
fable. There exist in the records accounts of different persons with
the same or similar names, and different names are given to one
392 Culture Areas of Nigeria
person. Neither can place names be satisfactorily identified with
present-day localities. The mythological period was succeeded by
one of growth, prosperity, and consolidation. Then came a long
political decline marked by internal strife, revolution, and disruption.
This desiccation of tribal life was at times relieved by partial recovery,
and finally a period of European conquest prevailed.
The cultural significance of historical events is clear, though
only the main outline of events is beyond dispute. Cultural contacts
have been those of intermittent warfare with the Fulani, with
Dahomey, and against Europeans; and as a result of these activities
centers of culture and political administration were established.
Benin at one time extended a cultural and military control from the
region of Kotonu in Dahomey to the Bonny River. S. Johnson
states (p. 15) that Yoruban control formerly extended as far as the
Gas-speaking people of Accra. The Gas state that their ancestors
came from Ife in southwest Nigeria, and in support of this statement
it may be said that the structure of the Ga language is more like
Yoruba than Fanti. Until recent times Popos and Dahomeans
paid tribute to Oyo as a suzerain town, and there is no doubt that
the Yoruban king Oranyan pushed his conquests far beyond the
present limits of Yoruban territory.
The establishment of new kingdoms from strong foci is illustrated
by the founding of the Jekri kingdom in 1480, when a son of the
Obba of Benin took refuge in a part of the delta region which he and
his descendants subsequently ruled. Therefore, according to
historical evidence, the sequence of events in southern Nigeria was
analogous to the processes noted for the Northern Provinces. Foreign
intrusion of non-Negro elements stimulated growth of some Negro
communities and forced others into a state of isolation. Those
who absorbed the new blood and culture were consolidated both
politically and culturally. Then followed the rise of political foci
from which military and cultural conquests were made. Meanwhile
from the fifteenth century onward European influence was gaining
ground in a manner that will be realized from consideration of the
main facts of European exploration, the founding of trading com-
panies, and finally a formal assumption of European control.
Reference has been made to the writings of early travelers of
Arab and Berber extraction, and to the works of Arab historians
and geographers who compiled and summarized the contributions
History and Exploration 393
of their predecessors. The observations of Leo Africanus, correctly
named Al-Hassan Ibn Mohammed Al-Wezaz Al-Fasi, are very
important in relation to the history of the great kingdoms of the
Niger and Nigeria. But earlier accounts of Ibn Batuta (1325-54)
and his precursors of the period a.d. 700-1300 help to show the
cultural and historical significance of the towns of Agades, Timbuktu,
Gao, Kano, and Katsina, and the province of Bornu.
Leo Africanus was born in Granada about the year 1494, and for
three centuries his writings endured as the principal authority on
north and west-central Africa. Leo Africanus traveled extensively
in Morocco, Algeria, and the Rio de Oro. Even today the Rio de
Oro is imperfectly explored owing to marauding bands, drought,
and paucity of population. Africanus crossed the Sahara from the
north and reached Timbuktu at the bend of the Niger, whose course
was then unknown. He traversed an easterly route through Kano
to Bornu, then continued to the south of Lake Chad. Despite the
value of the records of Leo Africanus he made the serious error of
stating that the Niger flowed from east to west.
Exploration of Nigeria has been made from three main directions,
north from across the Sahara, west by way of the Niger, and south
up the creeks of the Niger Delta. In 1799 Hornemann, who was
sent from Tripoli by the British African Association, succeeded in
crossing the Sahara, but later lost his life in the desert. From
Tripoli (1821), Denham, Clapperton, and Oudney crossed the
Sahara between Murzuk and Bornu on the line 15° E. Long., a
route that led through the salt-producing oasis of Bilma to Kuka
on the western shore of Lake Chad. Denham explored the Shari
River and Lake Chad region, while Clapperton visited Sokoto, an
excursion that cost the life of Oudney. Ensign Toole, who accom-
panied Denham on his journey near Lake Chad, succumbed to fever,
but the survivors, Clapperton, Denham, and Hillman reached
Tripoli in 1825. Their diaries have contributed historical and
ethnological facts concerning the Hausa kingdom of Sokoto, the
rising power of Bornu, the Baghirmi, the Fulani, and the desert
routes passing through Bilma and Tibesti.
After severe hardships and a narrow escape from death at the
hands of robbers, Major Laing succeeded in reaching Timbuktu in
1826, where he was followed two years later by R£n£ Caillie\ The
former explorer lost his life at the hands of desert marauders, but
the latter returned safely to France.
394 Culture Areas of Nigeria
In the year 1850 Richardson, Barth, and Overweg left Tripoli
to travel southward through Murzuk, from which point they crossed
the desert to Asben, where valuable notes were made in the city of
Agades. The scientific observations made during this expedition,
which cost the lives of Richardson and Overweg, are contained in
James Richardson's "Narrative of a Mission to Central Africa, in
1850-51," and Barth's "Travels and Discoveries in North and
Central Africa." Barth's command of Arabic and Hausa, combined
with his incomparable courage, physical strength, and persistence,
resulted in the publication of five volumes dealing with the history,
languages, cultures, and biology of the French Sudan, northern
Nigeria, and the trans-Saharan route. At Kuka near Lake Chad,
and elsewhere, Barth came into contact with Vogel, who had been
sent from England in charge of a relief expedition. Barth himself
penetrated to the province of Yola in eastern Nigeria.
F. G. Rohlfs was prepared for his arduous desert journeys by
service in the French Foreign Legion, in which he enlisted in 1855.
He was the second European to reach Tafilet, where he was robbed,
but although left as dead he revived and traveled to Algeria. In
1865 Rohlfs left Tripoli, journeyed through Ghadames and Murzuk,
thence to Bornu. He reached the Benue by the Bauchi highlands
and followed the course of that river to its junction with the Niger,
which he ascended to Rabba. From that point he journeyed to
Lagos, passing through Ilorin in 1867.
Two years later (1869) Gustav Nachtigal set out from Tripoli,
visited Tibesti and Borku, then continued to Baghirmi south of
Lake Chad. From that region he turned east and, after traversing
Wadai and Kordofan, reached Khartum (1874). The record of
this journey is contained in "Sahara und Sudan." For political
reasons Nachtigal crossed the Sahara a second time to undertake
a mission which resulted in the addition of Togoland and Cameroon
to the German empire (1884). Nachtigal died near Cape Palmas
on his return journey by sea. To this period of exploration belongs
the journey of Oscar Lenz (1879-80) who crossed the western Sahara
from Morocco to Timbuktu by a route little known to ethnologists
and geographers at the present day.
The Foureau-Lamy French expedition across the Sahara to Lake
Chad opened a new era of modern enterprise. To this recent period
belong the journeys of H. Vischer (1908), A. H. W. Hayward (1909),
Angus Buchanan (1922), Haardt and Dubreuil (1924), and Lieu-
tenant Cameron (1926). Such crossings have made contributions
History and Exploration 395
to botany, zoology, and ethnology. F. R. Rodd, who accompanied
Buchanan, remained in Air for ethnological work among the
Tuareg, whose culture he describes in "People of the Veil." Two
noted recorders of Tuareg life are C. de Foucauld and H. Duveyrier.
The ethnology of Tibesti, Bilma, and Fachi has been inadequately
described. But an article by P. Noel is a valuable though brief
outline of the social life and physical anthropology of the Teda
and the Tibbu of Tibesti.
The most important journeys of exploration toward Nigeria from
the west of Africa were those of Mungo Park, whose expeditions were
sponsored by the British African Association formed in 1788. After
suffering great hardships between Gambia and Segu, on the Niger,
Park returned to England in 1797 leaving the course and outlet of
the Niger an unsolved problem. A second expedition in 1805
ended in the death of Park and his companions at the Bussa Rapids.
Peddie (1816), Major Gray, together with Dochard (1818), and
Park's son, who went in quest of his father, laid down their lives in
some unknown way while following the western approach to the Niger.
The earliest contacts of Europeans with southern Nigeria were
made by the Portuguese toward the close of the fifteenth century.
Sequira visited Benin in 1472, but not until 1553 did the British
make contact with this city through the enterprise of Windham
and Pinteals. About ten years later Sir John Hawkins was engaged
in the slave trade near the Nigerian coast. Then followed a great
expansion of coastal and hinterland trade in which English, Portu-
guese, French, and Dutch vessels took part. Reports concerning
this early stage of European trade have been made by Dapper
(1688), van Nyendael (1702), Landolphe (1778), Fawckner (1825),
Beecroft (1851), and Burton (1862). These accounts have been
summarized, and a bibliography has been provided in H. Ling
Roth's "Great Benin."
In 1896 Acting Consul-General Phillips decided on a mission
to Benin, although advised by both Europeans and the Obba of
Benin not to enter the town because important festivals were in
progress. The Consul left Sapele in January, 1897, and within
two days the expedition was ambushed and annihilated with the
exception of two Europeans, Locke and Boisragon, along with some
native followers. The punitive expedition which sacked Benin
thirty-four days later brought away treasures of ivory, bronze,
and wood-carving, unfortunately with only a meager account of
their ethnological importance.
396 Culture Areas of Nigeria
Commander Clapperton, who had accompanied Denham and
Oudney on the north Nigerian and trans-Saharan expedition of 1821,
reached the Bight of Benin in 1825 accompanied by Pearce, Morrison,
Dickson, and Richard Lander. The only survivor of this expedition
was Lander, personal servant of Clapperton. To Lander fell the
honor of discovering the outlet of the Niger on a later expedition.
On landing in 1825 Clapperton was disappointed when he failed to
meet an escort promised by Sultan Bello of Sokoto, who was too
busily engaged in warfare to fulfil his promise. Clapperton proceeded
north from Badagry through Oyo and Yauri to Kano and from there
to Sokoto, where he died in 1827.
Lander returned to England, where he obtained a small grant
from the British Government. Then again he sailed for Nigeria,
where he landed in 1830 accompanied by his brother John. The
brothers set out on foot for Yauri, and the chief of that place
provided dugout canoes for their journey down the Niger to its
estuary. Without remarkable adventures they passed the junction of
the Benue and the Niger, then continued south, finally landing at
the port of Brass. This river voyage solved the problem that had
exercised the minds of geographers from the time of Herodotus
The ill-fated Nigerian expedition of 1841 has been described by
W. Allen and T. R. H. Thomson, who were accompanied by 145
scientists, missionaries, and commercial men. Of these, one-third
fell victims to malaria fever. Mr. McGregor Laird, who had led
an expedition to the lower Niger in 1830, opposed the venture of
1841 and foretold disaster. The failure and distress of this expedition
discouraged further attempts until 1854, when Laird organized an
investigation which yielded commercial and scientific results without
loss of life. Under the command of W. B. Baikie the Pleiad ascended
the Niger as far as the junction of the Benue, which was explored for
a distance of two hundred and fifty miles. Governor John Beecroft
of Fernando Po, who had labored incessantly in exploring the
Nigerian coast and the hinterland, died at the time he was com-
missioned to take charge of Laird's expedition of 1854.
From this time onward the history of exploration and development
is concerned with the rise, competition, and amalgamation of
trading companies, to which administrative functions were delegated.
Apathy of the British Government, combined with jealousies, political
and commercial, between England, Germany, France, and Holland,
History and Exploration 397
added to the dangers and uncertainties caused by warfare among
rival Nigerian chiefs.
Despite political duties, adverse climate, and the hostility of
natives, some British officers were able to make exploratory journeys
that were of geographical and ethnological value. In 1879 J. Milum
described the industries and customs of the Nupe of Bida. In these
early journals no complete ethnological study is given. On the
contrary, information has to be gleaned from many articles, each
of which gives miscellaneous items of anthropological interest. Sir
A. Moloney made notes on the Yoruba. R. B. Batty described
sacred groves and the ceremonial use of bull-roarers. Further
information respecting Nigerian towns that had made few contacts
with Europeans is recorded by Alvan Millson.
Diaries of traders may furnish ethnological notes, which, in the
absence of systematic research, are useful additions to our knowledge
of indigenous customs. "Life on the Niger," a diary of W. Cole,
calls attention to social and religious customs of Onitsha. Con-
clusion of peace between native rulers was marked by the slaying of
an albino (p. 14). The manufacture of palm-oil, human sacrifice,
the use of a slave as a seat, and the observance of a food taboo
against eggs are mentioned. Decorating a woman's back with
painted patterns that were later incised, the wearing of large ivory
anklets, each weighing twenty-two pounds, making cakes of potash,
ceremonies observed at the birth of twins, and the treatment of
boys at initiation, are described.
The journey of Lieutenant Boyd Alexander in 1904 was of a
general exploratory nature, yet he passed through large tracts of
unknown country and amassed information respecting many tribes
which have not been thoroughly studied even at the present day.
His route was up the Niger to Lokoja, situated at the junction of
that river and its main tributary, the Benue. Boyd Alexander then
passed through the Munshi country, the land of the Jukun
near Wukari, and the Bauchi plateau, whose tribes are still
imperfectly known. This explorer described Bornu and the
region of Lake Chad with special reference to the Buduma. He
continued through French Equatorial Africa to the Nile.
This brief summary of historical events and inferential testimony
derived from physical anthropology, archaeology, and languages,
establishes certain basic facts which require further comment.
Geographical determinants have played an important part in
historical developments, including migrations, warfare, and types
398 Culture Areas of Nigeria
of culture, but archaeological data are too fragmentary to do more
than suggest that foreign intrusion affected Negro culture locally.
Various types of stone buildings and artifacts are not yet historically
The study of languages and physical traits supports a current
hypothesis of Hamitic and Semitic invasions from the north and
northeast of Africa. These incursions always tended to sequestration
of pristine Negro tribes, either in inaccessible plateau regions or
in dense tropical forest, both of which situations were less favorable
than the open parklands.
Mohammedan influences, social, religious, political, and economic,
have been profound. European exploration has led to a situation in
which foreign control of indigenous institutions has raised problems
relating to general administration. These problems include questions
of health, education, native labor for Europeans, and the general
adjustment of indigenous cultures to European requirements.
In the following chapter a detailed account of Nigerian industries
is given with a view to showing the relationship of these to an
aboriginal Negro culture, Mohammedan invasions from north Africa,
and European intervention.
At the beginning of the journey into Nigeria discouraging accounts
were given with regard to the influence of European importations
on native crafts; and to some extent indigenous industries are
affected by European contacts. But, notwithstanding imitation
of European objects, and a growing importation of manufactured
and raw materials, the native industries of Nigeria repay the effort
of collecting and study. The innate skill of Negroes and the advanced
development of native crafts have an important bearing on the
founding of industrial schools and the nature of the training given
In addition to the interest that centers in technical processes,
problems of invention and diffusion are closely associated with a
study of handicrafts. Some forms of art, for example, the decoration
of gourds, are of local and perhaps independent invention, but other
artifacts have a wider range which depends on culture contacts,
migrations, the presence of raw materials, and the needs of the
Elaborate wood-carving is typical of forest regions where various
timbers are plentiful, as, for example, in the Southern Provinces.
Here religion, with its demand for masks and figurines, has proved
an incentive to the wood-carver's art. In the Northern Provinces,
on the contrary, absence of timber, combined with Mohammedan
influences that discountenance the carving of wooden figures, has
rendered the wood-carver's occupation unimportant. But use of
horses and camels in northern regions has stimulated the crafts of
blacksmiths and leather workers. Determining factors of this kind
will be recognized in describing Nigerian industries and in studying
The industries of Benin have been of such importance as to
require description apart from Nigerian handicrafts in general.
The arts of the city, chiefly casting in bronze, wood-carving, and
ivory-carving, had reached their zenith when Europeans arrived, at
the end of the fifteenth century. Fostered by the king himself, who
retained workers in the royal compound, and closely associated with
religious observances, several handicrafts had attained a degree
of excellence which has not been surpassed in any part of the world.
The growth and decline of Benin illustrate the operation of several
cultural processes, including the formation of craft guilds, the
400 Culture Areas of Nigeria
founding of foci from which cultural influences spread, and the
decadence that begins under an unsympathetic foreign intrusion
which interferes with the liaison between art and religion.
Bronze-casting is of exceptional interest because of the unknown
origin of the lost-wax process. There is a definite west African
distribution of this technique on the Ivory Coast, in Dahomey,
Ashanti, Nigeria, and the Bagam area of the Cameroon. The method
of work is essentially the same in all these centers, though the
products of each locality are distinguishable by their forms. L. W. G.
Malcolm's statement (III), that the chief of Bamum described the
art as an adoption from an invading people from the northeast,
agrees with all that is known and surmised about the drift of tribes
and cultural traits in north and west Africa.
The hypothesis that bronze-casting was introduced into Benin
by the Portuguese now finds no supporters, though some years ago
G. H. Pitt-Rivers (Introduction, p. iv) said that "the works represent
a phase of art of which there is no actual record, although no doubt
we cannot be far wrong in attributing it to European influence,
probably that of the Portuguese somewhere in the sixteenth century."
Bronze staffs pictured by Pitt-Rivers (Plate XI, Figs. 66-72)
establish a point of cultural resemblance between Benin and Ife.
The staffs illustrated by Pitt-Rivers are like those now in use by
priests who are custodians of a sacred grove at Ife (Plate CLIV,
Fig. 1). P. A. Talbot (IV, vol. I, p. 157) states that up to the time
of Portuguese intrusion most of the Benin bronze-casting came
from Ife, but from that time, and owing to the large quantity of
metal provided by the Portuguese, the greater part of the work
was done in Benin. This sudden European impetus to the casting
process at Benin may have given rise to the hypothesis that casting
owed its beginning to the Portuguese.
The west African distribution of the lost-wax process renders a
number of independent origins unlikely, since the places of occurrence
lie on a line of racial migrations that are more than a conjecture.
Flinders Petrie (p. 98) calls attention to the beating of copper vessels
in predynastic Egypt. A life-size statue of King Pepy, with hands
and feet cast by the lost-wax process, provides an example of casting
in the ninth dynasty, and archaeological evidence indicates that
bronze was cast by the lost-wax process in dynasty XVIII, about
Copper and tin are found in Nigeria; therefore immigrants had
the raw material for continuing their craft. And even if a knowledge
of casting were introduced into west Africa by Arabs as late as the
eleventh century, ample time for perfecting the industry would have
been available before the arrival of Europeans.
The studies of F. von Luschan (I) and E. von Sydow, based on
a stylistic and chronological classification of objects from Benin,
lead to the conclusion that the art of casting bronze had attained
its zenith before the arrival of Europeans. Luschan calls the period
from 1500 to 1600 the Great Age. It was mainly concerned with
the casting of bronze heads, though the molding of bas-reliefs had
begun. In the second half of the seventeenth century the art had
passed its prime, but the output was varied and of good quality;
the cast objects of this period include snakes and cocks. By the
eighteenth century the casting showed insufficient technique and
"a meaningless lack of expression. The actual type was not changed
but the work lost its inherent power."
Brass-casting of the year 1930 as carried out by boys of the trade
school, which is supervised by the Obba of Benin, represents the
latest stage in a decline of the art of casting, which has now lost
almost all the former social and religious incentive. Yet the technique
is creditable, and I was able to obtain a series of objects illustrating
the processes of modeling in wax, the use of molds, and the finishing
of objects by filing. The articles were chiefly of European form,
though the brass bell is of the type used on the ancient altar (Plate
XCIX, Figs. 1-10).
I was received by the Obba of Benin near the courtyard in which
the altar is erected. The photograph (Plate CXV, Fig. 2) shows
a retention of rites and objects that are mentioned in reports of early
European visitors to Benin. The Obba advanced under a large
colored umbrella carried by a servant, while seven naked boys
acted as an escort. One of these boys bore a large scimitar held
upright in his right hand, while his left arm was bent across his body
to support the arm that was holding the sword. The executioner's
sword was photographed by Punch in 1892, and his picture is
reproduced in Ling Roth's "Great Benin" (Fig. 165, p. 168).
The corps of naked boys (Ohunnse), some of whom are in attendance
either by day or night, is chosen from the Ibiwe and Iwegwe societies
(P. A. Talbot, IV, vol. Ill, p. 546).
The Obba led the way to the altar, for the description of which
I am indebted to the Resident in Benin City. The account was pre-
pared in the year 1924 by Mr. H. N. Nevins, District Officer of
402 Culture Areas of Nigeria
Benin Division. The data are valuable as a record with which
future observations can be compared. Mr. Nevins reports as
"The shrine is situated in a courtyard measuring 51.85 x 30 m.
This courtyard is surrounded by a red mud wall approximately
4.6 m. in height. The wall is roofed all round with galvanized sheets,
forming on three sides a verandah about 1.8 m. deep, which is pro-
vided with a mud seat about 30 cm. high and 60 cm. wide. The
fourth side has a wider roof and the verandah is 3.10 m. deep, the
floor being built up 40 cm. above the level of the courtyard and
"In the center is a slightly raised platform of cement 8 m. long,
3.15 m. wide, and 10 cm. high. In the middle of this is erected the
pedestal which accommodates the various objects. This pedestal
is of red beaten clay, and is in shape roughly half an oval; it is 45 cm.
high in front, and slopes down to a height of 40 cm. at the back,
where it is built against the carved Iroko plank which stands at a
slight slope against the back wall of the yard. This wall, like the
other walls, is of red mud 4.6 m. in height, and ribbed with parallel,
horizontal grooves about 4 cm. deep and 5 cm. apart. Two steps
extending the length of the raised platform lead up to the shrine;
they are of cement, 25 cm. high, and 8.2 m. long."
According to Ling Roth (III) the ditch around Benin was the
work of Oguola, the fourth king. The ditch was not made for defense,
but as a monument that should remind the people of the king, after
his death. The density of vegetation now filling the moat is shown
in Plate CLIV, Fig. 2. The city wall has been built of earth from
the moat. The height of the wall is about 9 m., with a breadth of
21 m. at the base.
The contents of the altar, which is difficult to photograph because
of its situation in deep shade, are but a remnant of its former equip-
ment, which has been described by several visitors of the eighteenth
and nineteenth centuries. The observations of these explorers have
been summarized by Ling Roth (I, p. 236, and III, p. 79).
In the year 1702 van Nyendael observed eleven tusks on the
altar, a number which had slightly diminished by 1820, when the
altar was described by Lieutenant King. In the year 1930 no tusks
remained on the altar, and the total equipment of the structure
consisted of seven long wooden staffs centrally placed at the back,
so that they leaned against the wall; six cast-brass bells; two heads
of brass or bronze, apparently recently made; and a central human
figure of brass or bronze. This central figure was supported in the
traditional way by two smaller figures, one on each side.
Ling Roth discusses the question of sacrifice and sprinkling the
altar with blood, a custom about which the evidence is conflicting.
Animals are killed at the base of the altar at the present time. The
steps are spotted with blood, and the objects on the shrine are
In the crafts school (Plate CXV, Fig. 1) only two tusks were
being carved. The artisans were boys who carefully cut the surfaces
with sharp knives, so making the designs which are familiar on old
tusks; as, for example, the Obba supported by two attendants. These
well-known designs were carved on wooden plaques. A boy trained
in this school carved a kneeling human figure (Plate XCIV, Fig. 5).
Innate manual dexterity is present, but old forms of art cannot
be revived in the absence of the religious ideas and ritual which
formerly proved an incentive. In addition to this the old craftsmen
formed guilds in which industrial technique was conserved and
transmitted from father to son. But such guilds are either absent
or they now lack their former pride and exclusiveness.
The casting of objects in brass was mentioned in connection
with present-day industries of Benin, whose degenerated products
of the lost-wax process, together with similar articles from Kano,
form the stock-in-trade of many Hausa traders.
Although beaten brass work is made at Old Calabar, perhaps
Bida should be regarded as the principal center for this kind of work.
The tools used are of a simple kind, including punches and files of
native make fitted into wooden handles. The bellows consist of a
hide bag having a tapering wooden nozzle, and a pumping arrange-
ment made by alternately opening and closing two slats of wood at
the wide end of the bag. According to Frobenius (III, Heft 1,
Blatt 4) this type of bellows has a distribution over the whole of
east Africa, Algeria, Morocco, and the western Sahara.
The engraving tool is an iron instrument 8 cm. long, of slender
construction, tapering to a point only 0.2 cm. across. With this
implement and a small hammer for tapping it, objects of beaten
brass are remarkably well decorated with punched designs of com-
plicated but symmetrical geometrical figures. Brass is obtained in
some measure from cartridge cases, but probably the greater quantity
is bought from traders' stores.
404 Culture Areas of Nigeria
For making trays sheet brass is imported from Birmingham,
England. Yet this importation does not render the craft unin-
teresting, and the native designs are worth recording (Plate XCVIII,
Figs. 1-7). The brass that was beaten for demonstration was cold;
consequently, the work of the two smiths who hammered the metal
Brass artifacts of Nupe workmanship from Bida are readily
classified into two groups; namely, articles made for native use,
and those made for Europeans. Among the former may be mentioned
brass-hilted arm daggers; in some examples the whole scabbard is
of brass, which is well decorated with punched designs. A spouted
vessel, somewhat like a coffee pot, is used by a servant who pours
water over his master's hands before prayer. The receptacle for
kola nuts, which are of considerable importance in hospitality and
ritual, is an object of native conception and execution. Brass ladles
appear to be an imitation in metal work of the gourd ladles ordinarily
used. Brass instruments employed by Yoruba and other women
when dressing one another's hair, are restricted to native use.
Brass trays of various shapes and sizes are probably the most
numerous of articles made for Europeans. Oval and round forms
predominate, the depths vary considerably, and in some instances
the descent from the edge of the tray to the bottom of the well is
beaten out with great skill in three ledges.
Punched designs comprising ovals, circles, floral motifs, and
an overlapping pattern like a figure eight are all of excellent
technique. The decorations show careful planning of the parts in
relation to the area to be covered, and there is no confusion in the
intricate overlapping designs.
Brass bowls, each made from a single sheet of metal, are a special
feature of the craft. Among these objects the octagonal bowls, with
sides sharply demarcated, and of equal dimensions, are of exceptional
merit. The making of brass needles in imitation of European forms
is a modern development of the brass worker's art. Spouted vessels
indicate a knowledge of soldering since they are made in four pieces
which are later soldered together, after which the handle and spout
are welded to the body.
A study of iron-working in Nigeria raises problems of origin,
diffusion of technique, and ritual, in connection with which an
extensive bibliography exists, but unfortunately the question of
origins, whether single or multiple, and the routes of diffusion has
so far proved indeterminable. Smelting and working of iron may
have been indigenous to African Negroes, from whom a knowledge
spread to the Nile Valley. But the contrary has been argued;
namely, an origin in Egypt and a diffusion over the remainder of
the African continent. The evidence of iron-working in various
parts of Asia, and the introduction into Africa by the agency of
Egyptians and Hamitic immigrants has likewise been considered.
The claims of these theories may now be summarized.
In western Asia are situated two districts where iron ores are
found, and here may be seen the remains of an early iron-working
industry. These areas are near the southeast of the Black Sea and the
Taurus Mountains. It is recorded that Ashur-nasir-pal, 860 B.C.,
obtained iron ore in the neighborhood of Carchemish. In the ruins
of the Palace of Sargon, dated 710 B.C., Victor Place found iron bars
and finished articles such as chains and bits for horses. Since the
manufacture of these articles implies considerable practice, there
may be reason for assuming that the Assyrians were familiar with
the forging of iron as early as 2000 B.C.
- Metallurgy of iron was known in southern India by 1000 B.C.
and at an earlier date in the Punjab. The smelting furnace used
by hill tribes of the Ghats is analogous to prehistoric furnaces of the
upper basin of the Danube. The furnace consists of a cylindrical
shaft of clay with blast holes at the base, and smelting is accomplished
by laying in this clay furnace alternate layers of iron ore and charcoal.
This is also the African method (W. Gowland, pp. 281-282).
. In Egypt iron was scarce up to 800 B.C. and to infer an early
knowledge of working in iron because of the mere presence of iron
objects in dynasty VI may be unwarranted. Iron was introduced
into the south of Palestine about 1350 B.C. and furnaces were made
about a hundred and fifty years later. Not until Coptic times in
Egypt (a.d. 100-300) was there a free use of iron for making
knives, chisels, hooks, hoes, and other objects of daily use (W. M.
F. Petrie, p. 104, and Ancient Egypt, 1927, p. 5).
Diffusion is simpler than independent invention. Africa is easily
accessible from Asia, and immigrations into Africa by way of the
Sinai peninsula have been frequent. Therefore there are grounds
for favoring an Asiatic origin of the iron-working industry. But
on the contrary, if one should agree with Luschan (II) that Negro
tribes of Africa originated the iron industry, which then spread
through Egyptian agency to Europe and Asia, one would have to
admit the diffusion of a cultural trait running counter to known
lines of racial movement, since immigration has been principally
406 Culture Areas of Nigeria
from Asia into northeast Africa. This may be possible, but usually
a drift of traits is in the direction of human migration.
In view of the evidence for an early Asiatic knowledge of iron-
working, and the late appearance of the craft in Egypt, one might
more reasonably ascribe the introduction of iron-working to Hamitic
immigrants, but the objection is that these pastoral tribes despise
handicrafts. The Hamitic theory suggests that iron-working may
have spread in three main directions; namely, up the Nile Valley,
down the east side of Africa, and westward across Africa over the
open tract to the north of the Congo forests. Consideration of ritual
in connection with the blacksmith's craft in Africa, combined with
a comparative study of the tools and methods of smelting and
forging, favors the idea of diffusion rather than independent origin
in a number of African centers.
If the late date at which iron was commonly manufactured and
used in Egypt is taken as a criterion for the entry of the craft into
Africa, there can be no difficulty on the grounds that the industry
could not have diffused and developed to the high standard found
by the first Europeans who entered Africa.
One of the fundamental points in studying any diffusion is the
usefulness of the particular trait under consideration, while another is
the presence or absence of the raw materials needed for developing the
trait. A diffusion of iron-working in Africa would naturally be
hastened by the desirability of assimilating the new craft, which
harmonized with human needs in general. Iron ore is accessible
near the surface in many areas; moreover, frequent migrations of
people have descended the eastern side of the continent and have
crossed from east to west.
The fact that Andrew Battell recorded a well-developed iron
technique in northern Angola in the sixteenth century, and that
Mungo Park described the iron smelting of Kamalia as a flourishing
industry in 1795, does not preclude the possibility of a late introduc-
tion of the blacksmith's craft into Africa. If iron-working were not
known to Negroes until as late as the beginning of the Christian
era, it is possible that the craft might have diffused over the whole
African continent before European exploration among Negroes began.
My inclination is toward a theory of Negro origin because of
the innate industrial skill of the Negro. It is difficult to believe
that the Negro, with his aptitude for art and handicraft, could
have taken the most important branch of manual work from Hamites,
who despise manual labor and treat blacksmiths as a submerged class.
In the discussion of this problem of the origin of the blacksmith's
craft (W. Belck, I-IV) insufficient attention has been paid to the
possibilities of independent invention. There is no reason why
the Negro could not have made primary inventions, including the
smelting of iron in a hole in the ground, and the use of a type of
wooden bellows with two or four chambers, such as those now used
in the Congo area. There is the possibility, however, that Asiatic
intrusions brought a new type of conical or cylindrical furnace in
which the ore is smelted in layers. And of non-Negro introduction
may be the goatskin bag-bellows used in north Africa by the Tuareg
of Asben and by some tribes of Nigeria.
A point in favor of the independent origin of iron-working among
Negroes is the nature of the ritual, and the similarity of rites in widely
separated areas of Negro culture. If it is possible to believe that
the Negro received his first knowledge of iron-working from pastoral
Hamites of Asiatic extraction, either by way of the Nile Valley
or some other route, to whom is he indebted for the ritual which is
typically Negro in character? Separation of blacksmiths into closed
guilds, initiation, taboos, and the entire setting of the craft is in
keeping with the general psychology of Negro art and handicraft,
which is described in Rattray's "Religion and Art in Ashanti."
The presence of ritual and prohibition in connection with the
blacksmith's craft is too well known to require corroboration by
extensive quotation of references. Literature dealing with tribes
south of the Sahara seldom fails to mention the special treatment
accorded to workers in iron. Frequently the blacksmiths form a
caste which does not intermarry with other people, and initiation
ceremonies for apprentices are observed. Usually the language
spoken by blacksmiths differs from that of surrounding people of
the same tribe. Ritual centers in building the furnace, smelting the
iron, and consecrating the tools.
Among the Ovimbundu of Angola I recorded that a youth has
to serve an apprenticeship of two years, at the end of which time he
is made to stand on the anvil during a ceremony for the consecration
of tools. All implements presented to the novice are made by the
master blacksmith after they have been consecrated by killing a
dog and chickens, whose blood is sprinkled on them (No. 2, this
volume, 1934, pp. 158-161).
In Nigeria evidence of ritual exists in connection with the black-
smith's craft. At Ife I was taken to a sacred grove in which lie
two large stones said to be the hammer and anvil of the first black-
408 Culture Areas of Nigeria
smith, Ogun, who is patron of the craft and at the same time is god
of war. Over the anvil were stretched the remains of a dog which
had been sacrificed to Ogun; I was informed that such a sacrifice
is made twice a year (Plate CLV, Fig. 2). Sacrifice of a dog is the
chief ritual act among the Ovimbundu, who kill the animal with
the large hammer made by the master for presentation to his pupil;
consequently, I found great difficulty in purchasing this tool. A. B.
Ellis (p. 68) states that the usual sacrifice to Ogun is a dog, and a
dog's head, which is emblematic of this sacrifice, is always to be
seen fastened up in some conspicuous part of the workshop of a
When among the Angas tribe near Pankshin I observed that
the blacksmith's forge was not in use, and that the thatched hut
which was open at the sides appeared to have been unoccupied for
a long time. Inquiry shows that the craft in this locality is both
seasonal and ceremonial (C. K. Meek, I, vol. I, p. 150).
A Yoruba blacksmith at Iseyin worked in a large hut having
six separate fires around each of which several workers were employed.
The establishment was under the direction of a master blacksmith
who had to be present before any of the tools might be sold.
In this forge the anvil was a square-topped piece of iron provided
with a point to be driven into the ground. There were hammers of
two kinds, tongs, and fire-rakes. The manufactured objects included
broad oval hoe-blades for hafting in wood, razors, and metal instru-
ments used by women for hairdressing. The bellows were of a pattern
having a distribution over a considerable part of the Congo region
and Angola. Two connected wooden chambers terminated in a
narrow wooden nozzle which led into a pipe of clay. Each of two
long thin sticks was attached to the goat-hide covering of each of
the wooden chambers. The sticks served as handles for pumping
air to the fire with a vigorous up-and-down motion (Plates CI,
Figs. 4, 8; CL, Fig. 2).
A forge visited at Maiduguri was remarkable for the variety of
its products. These included iron shackles, bits, and stirrups for
horses; also scissors, tweezers, and iron needles. In addition to these
articles the needs of agriculturists and craftsmen were not forgotten.
The smith made socketed hoe blades into which wooden handles
were fitted; curved and socketed knives for cutting grass; and ax-
heads which could be reversed in their shafts so as to be used as
adzes. From the Angas of Pankshin I obtained an iron tobacco pipe,
52 cm. long, which had been made at a local forge.
Equipment for War and Hunting
Of all weapons, swords and knives involve the greatest amount
of skilled labor. The cross-hilted sword measuring a meter in length,
and the short knife having a leather sheath and arm-band, have
a wide distribution from the country of the Yoruba northward to
Kano and Sokoto, and across the Sahara. Veiled Buzu of French
Niger Territory invariably carry these weapons, which are also
common along the eastern road from Kano to Lake Chad, thence
across Africa through the eastern Sudan, and as far as the Hadendoa
of the Red Sea Province.
Among the industries of Bida the making of swords with silver
scabbards is prominent. The weapon could be used since the edges
are sharply ground, but the silver scabbards, which are ornamented
with punched geometric designs and large, colored, woolen tassels,
serve mainly as ceremonial equipment for wealthy men. In Kano
market sword makers (Plate CXIV, Fig. 2) carry on their craft
apart from the general work of the blacksmith's forge, but at
Maiduguri ordinary blacksmiths of the market place were making
well-tempered short knives for wearing on the arm. The blades
are decorated with punched geometric designs of an elaborate kind,
while the making of sheaths of red and white leather is part of the
leather worker's occupation. These arm-daggers are extensively
used by the Hausa, and by the Buduma of Lake Chad.
The throwing-iron carried by men observed along the road from
Kano to Maiduguri, and by the Buduma of Baya Seyarum, has a
length of 85 cm. and is of the well-known Baghirmi type used to the
south of Lake Chad. Passarge (p. 440) illustrates thirteen types
of this weapon. The types of thro wing-knives and their distribution
in Africa have formed the subject of several important articles quoted
in the bibliography. E. S. Thomas has sketched the forms, discussed
the line of evolution of one form from another, and mapped the dis-
tribution of each type. The F-shaped knife which I acquired is
said to be the most prevalent form among the tribes of the Shari
region; it is found sparsely in Nubia and among some tribes of the
White Nile. This F pattern is used as far north as Tibesti, and
Thomas favors a Libyan origin.
Experiments on deal boards prove that the weapon has remarkable
cutting power, and it was no doubt effective when hurled at the
fetlocks of a horse. Thomas states (p. 129) that the F-shaped knife
should perhaps be regarded as an iron form of the throwing-stick.
P. Germann deals in detail with the theory of the evolution of throw-
410 Culture Areas of Nigeria
ing-knives from wooden prototypes, and supports his thesis by
illustrating forms of wooden throwing-clubs together with iron throw-
ing-knives of like pattern occurring in the same areas.
Only two examples of shields were collected. One shield of the
type pictured by Meek (I, vol. I, p. 301, Fig. 83) was said by the
donor, Mr. L. S. Price of Maiduguri, to be in use among the Gwozo,
who live in the Mandara Hills to the south of Bornu. The photo-
graph given by Meek indicates that this type of shield is used by the
Borom of Bauchi Province. The shield, which is U-shaped, is
covered with bosses made by indenting the inner side, which has a
centrally placed wooden grip. Meek states that the shield is made
from the ear of an elephant, a statement which the general shape
of the weapon tends to corroborate. Passarge (p. 70) pictures the
same object under the name of the Fullaschild as used in Adamaua.
My photograph shows two Buduma men of Baya Seyarum
fighting behind their large curved shields of ambach wood. The
men approached from a distance stealthily, then rushed one upon
the other jabbing over and round the sides of their shields. They
parted in order to carry out this maneuver several times, then
crouched facing each other (Plate CXLIII, Fig. 2).
The Buduma shield is a large structure (85 x 93 cm.) but easily
portable owing to the lightness of the wood. In the village of Baya
Seyarum an old man was engaged in making shields, first soaking
the planks in water then bending them while soft. He bored holes
and used thin strips of hide to fasten the planks together. Pieces
of black hide cut into diamond-shaped patterns were employed to
ornament the outer surface, and an inside grip was made by strong,
crossed cords made from papyrus-reed fiber.
Use of muzzle-loading guns which natives purchase from traders'
stores naturally cause bows and arrows to fall into desuetude. I
did not see crossbows in use but they have been described by several
writers (H. Balfour, II, and A. Moloney). The illustrations shown
in these articles, if compared with those given by P. H. G. Powell-
Cotton (Man, 1929, No. 1), support the generally accepted hypothesis
of a European introduction of crossbows into west Africa, where
similar forms can be observed in Nigeria, Cameroon, and French
Equatorial Africa, especially in the region of the Ogowe River.
The Angas of Pankshin use a wooden bow, round in cross section
and bound with strips of snake skin. The bowstring was made of
thin twisted hide. One end of the shaft was shouldered to prevent
slipping of the cord and there was a simple slip loop for unstringing
the bow when not in use. The quiver used with this bow was made
from a monocotyledonous wood which was ornamented with incised
triangular patterns. The quiver held five tanged, barbed, poisoned,
unfeathered arrows, each 52 cm. long. The nocks were rectangular
and bound to prevent splitting of the shaft. The shaft of the arrow
was a hollow reed into which the tang of the head was tightly bound
with vegetable fiber. The number of barbs on the arrowheads
varied from one to three, and these were always on one side only.
From a Hausa in Sokoto a quiver of dark brown monocotyledon-
ous wood was purchased. This wood is suitable for making quivers
because of its nodal structure. The iron arrowheads are tanged
into reed shafts and bound there. The points are thickly smeared
with poison at the junctions of the head and the shaft. The arrow-
heads are of a broad leaf shape with two downward barbs at the
base of each. The round-shafted bow which is bound at intervals
with antelope hide has a length of 131 cm. One end of the shaft
is deeply nocked to prevent slipping of the loop, which can be easily
removed to unstring the bow. In the market place at Maiduguri a
blacksmith was making tanged arrowheads, which probably find a
sale among the varied tribes seen in this large native market.
A Hausa spear 175 cm. long was obtained at Sokoto. The iron
head is socketed and elaborately barbed. Among the Buduma
remarkably well-made socketed spearheads were obtainable, but
these were not locally made; they were the work of an itinerant
blacksmith. There were two main types: one flat, broad, and leaf-
shaped; the other square in cross section and elaborately cut into
a large number of small barbs. The flat spearhead was decorated
with punched geometrical designs. Iron harpoon-heads, which are
attached to wooden shafts by cords, are common among the Buduma.
Some excellent examples of harpoons were also obtained from the
Munshi of Katsina Ala (Plate CI, Figs. 6, 7).
Oric Bates (Ancient Egyptian Fishing, Harvard African Studies,
1, 1917, pp. 200-221) calls attention to forms of canoes and harpoons
which may be prototypes of those used by the Buduma, though
independent invention may have occurred. Bates refers to tomb
paintings showing a hippopotamus being hunted with harpoons
having detachable heads; such implements were also used for spear-
ing fish. K. G. Lindblom's contribution (Jakt-Och Fangsmetoder,
Stockholm, 1925, p. 33) pictures a harpoon used for killing crocodiles.
This implement has a distribution which includes the Turkana,
the Egyptians, the Shilluk, and the Buduma of Lake Chad.
412 Culture Areas of Nigeria
The papyrus-reed canoe of Lake Chad is made by lashing bundles
of reeds together. Such a canoe was known in pre-dynastic Egypt
(0. Bates, op. cit., pp. 219, 222) and the idea may have been diffused.
But the need for easily constructed boats, combined with the presence
of only one material well suited for the purpose, may have led to
convergences of form in canoe types on the River Nile and Lake
Chad. That such a convergence is possible may be seen by comparing
the reed canoes of the Buduma with those on Lake Titicaca. There
is likeness of form and construction, but the remoteness of the
places and the absence of known connection makes independent origin
of the canoes almost certain.
The most interesting hunter's device observed was that of a
Munshi near Ibi. This man placed on his head a model of the head
of a hornbill, made from wood and covered with leather which was
decorated with red beads. The hunter crawled on hands and knees,
imitating the pecking of a bird; meanwhile he trailed his bow and
arrows in his hands. Presumably the device is effective in long grass
where only the head of the bird can be seen. Boyd Alexander noted
this device (I, p. 32) but J. du Plessis, who traveled through the
Munshi country, is skeptical. He says (Thrice through the Dark
Continent, p. 72), "It is somewhat of a strain on our faith to be told
that a well set up Munshi nearly six feet high can conceal himself
under the plumage of a diminutive bird like the hornbill. It must
be either a very gullible antelope or a very gullible reader that can
be so easily deceived." My photograph (Plate CLI, Fig. 1) shows
the method employed, and so corroborates the accuracy of Boyd
Alexander's observation. Precisely the same decoy has been photo-
graphed by G. Haardt at Dosso on the River Niger, six hundred miles
from the Munshi country (National Geographic Magazine, XLIX,
1926, p. 673).
Spinning, Weaving, and Dyeing
These industries were seen among the Yoruba population of
Iseyin, Ogbomosho, and Ilorin, also at Kano in the hands of Hausa
The history and technology of weaving have been described by
W. M. F. Petrie (pp. 147-148) and by Ling Roth (V, pp. 113-150).
Petrie states that, by the time of the first dynasty, weaving had
become fine and regular, especially in the working of mummy
wrappings. The coarser work was done on horizontal looms close to
the ground, but fine work was executed on vertical looms.
The map prepared by Ling Roth (V, p. 150) shows the vertical
mat loom to have a distribution all over Nigeria. For working on
this loom, which is the most primitive of all the types, filament from
the leaves of Raphia vinifera is used. The outer cuticle is removed,
after which the lower fiber is cut into thin shreds by a leaf splitter
made from strips of pointed cane. Small mats made in this way were
obtained at Ibadan; the inwoven red and black triangles are very
neatly executed (Plate C, Figs. 3, 6). The usual measurements of
these mats are 35 x 21 cm. In the central and southwest Congo
region the technique of mat-making has attained a high degree of
refinement (T. A. Joyce, II, and J. Maes).
The vertical cotton loom is shown by Ling Roth to occur in
Nigeria at Abeokuta and Opobo, and across the Sahara into Algeria.
The horizontal, narrow-band, treadle loom such as that used in
Iseyin has a west African distribution from Gambia to Lake Chad.
The tripod form of this loom occurs in Sierra Leone, and the Iseyin
type is shown by Passarge (Adamaua, p. 85) to exist at Garua.
Male weavers of Iseyin sat under a long shed, each at his hori-
zontal loom, from which the warp stretched far away into the court-
yard. The narrow strips woven in this way were green and white
or blue and white in alternate bands. The breadth of each strip
was 9 cm. Both the hands and the feet of the weaver are used to
operate the loom. The feet move alternately on two pedals that
open and close the threads of the warp. Meanwhile, in synchronism
with this opening and closing of the warp, the weft is introduced
by a shuttle which is passed laterally by hand. In the cloth pur-
chased, strips about 9 cm. wide had been sewn together to make a
piece 203 cm. wide (Plates CVII, CVIII).
The loom worked by women is of a kind quite different from the
men's loom on which the narrow strips are woven. The vertical
loom for use by the women is set up near the entrance to an apart-
ment within the house. The worker sits on the ground with her feet
in a hole. The strips of cloth woven on this loom were about 48 cm.
wide and these were later sewn together to form broad pieces of cloth.
The horizontal, narrow-band, treadle loom used at Kano by an
old man (Plate CXI, Fig. 1) appears to be the same as that pictured
by C. K. Meek (I, vol. I, Fig. 62) in use by a male Jukun weaver of
Muri Province. A large amount of cotton is native grown and
ginning is performed by women, who roll the cotton on a block
of wood. The iron rod used as the roller is 35 cm. long and 2 cm.
thick in the middle, with considerable tapering at each end.
414 Culture Areas of Nigeria
For teasing out the fluffy cotton into a long thread, and winding
this, several methods are available. At Maradi in French Niger
Territory women held in one hand a stick passed through the mass
of cotton. The thumb and forefinger of the other hand were used
rapidly to draw out the thread and roll it, after which it was wound
on a bobbin. Yoruba men at Iseyin had cotton thread in long rec-
tangles on the ground. The operators walked up and down the lines
of thread, which was wound by passing it through an iron loop at the
end of a long stick. At Iseyin a different method was also in use;
the operator worked by stretching the cotton between upright
projections based on heavy blocks of wood. A third method noted
at Iseyin is described by Meek (I, vol. I, p. 166, Fig. 58) who states
that this is the Hausa technique, which is also practiced in India.
The operator sits close to a conical framework of thin cane strips
around which the thread is wound (Plates CVII, CVIII).
In addition to weaving cotton on a loom, other methods of work
are of importance. These methods include knotting, embroidery,
and knitting. At Iseyin and elsewhere in Yoruba country strands
of cotton are netted to form large, wide-meshed bags which are used
for holding together the articles of a head-load.
From a Hausa in Sokoto a portable knitting outfit was obtained.
This consisted of two sticks kept in position with a cross-bar. The
sticks were placed upright in a small bag containing purple yarn
imported from Tripoli. Knitting is done by using a wooden needle
to pass loops over the upright pieces of the framework. The Hausa
name for this apparatus is sakan siliya (saka, to weave or make nets;
siliya, silk cord).
In the market place at Ogbomosho, and at Ilorin and Ibadan,
balls of indigo were offered for sale. The making of these is an
important industry for women, who gather the native plants. Dyeing
in large jars was in progress at Iseyin, but at Kano the dye was in
deep pits in the ground. At the former place both men and women
were employed, but at Kano there was a preponderance of male
dyers. The color is a deep indigo which is used for dyeing yarn or
for coloring turbans and strips of cloth. At Kano two men were
beating damp, dyed cloth over a log. In this way the shining blue
turban rewani is made by pounding finely powdered malachite into
the damp fabric (Plates CIX-CXI).
Making of clothing for men and women is the work of males at
both Kano and Ilorin, where complete outfits for men and women
were purchased. The upper and exterior garment known as a riga
is often elaborately embroidered with colored silk; so also are the
pants named wando. These wide trousers become narrow at the
knees where they are richly ornamented with the green, red, and
yellow silk. Despite the heat, heavy clothing is worn, and in some
instances a man wears several unnecessary garments as an indication
Part of a man's clothing is a brown under-vest cut square, with
a V-shaped neck having a decoration of yellow silk. Each kind of
cloth has a distinguishing name. Thus blue cloth for winding
round a woman's body is zane, her blue cloth with white stripes is
mayafi, and her head cloth is fatala. In the market place at Kano
men were decorating white caps by biting them to form ridged
patterns in neat geometrical designs. These ridges were then stitched
on the inside of the cap to make them permanent (Plates CXXXI,
Mrs. V. W. Quigley, a teacher of weaving in Cleveland, Ohio,
who examined several specimens of west African clothing, reports
that the embroidery is made as follows: punch work, eyelet, chain
stitch, and couching are commonly employed. Some patterns, which
look like double buttonholing, are chain stitches sewn closely
together. In some instances an overcasting stitch is placed round the
edge of the fabric in such a way as to make a scallop. The over-
casting stitch and the satin stitch are also used. So far as I know,
the embroideries of west Africa have not been examined in such
detail as to show the history and distribution of various types
of work. Presumably some of the stitches are of European intro-
duction, but possibly some of them are of far eastern origin and
others may be of local invention. A "Dictionary of Embroidery
Stitches" by M. Thomas, London, 1934, is of service in research
connected with textiles and embroidery.
Mrs. Quigley counted the number of warps and wefts to an inch
in order to give some idea of the fineness of the work. On six fabrics
from Ibadan and Kano the results of this counting are as follows:
of fabric Warpe Wefts of fabric Warps Wefts
1 . . (double) 11 56 4 90 28
2 20 23 5 68 36
3 128 30 6 46 20
A quotation from W. M. F. Petrie (p. 147) gives figures for
comparison: "On reaching the first dynasty the weaving is seen to
be very fine and regular. The threads are very uniform, and there
are 160 to the inch in the warp and 120 in the woof. Modern fine
416 Culture Areas of Nigeria
cambric has 140 threads to the inch." West African weaving is,
according to these standards, somewhat coarse in texture.
Study of the history and distribution of these occupations of
spinning, weaving, and dyeing is assisted by reference to some of the
older works of exploration. J. Matthews (p. 52) refers to the indigo
of Sierra Leone, which is of a deep indelible blue. Evidently the
industry of gathering plants and extracting the dye was older than
the period of Matthews' visit, for he remarks on the remains of
indigo works left by the Portuguese. The natives of Sierra Leone
are said to have "the art of dyeing scarlet and black in the most
Matthews (p. 53) reports: "Cotton is cultivated by the natives
but in no greater quantity than they can manufacture for themselves.
There are several kinds of it which materially differ not only in
quality but color; particularly three kinds, one perfectly white, one
of a tawny or nankeen color, and one of a pale red or pink color."
Mungo Park observes (p. 281) that women of the Mandingo
tribes living along the route he followed from Gambia to Segu on
the Niger, prepared cotton for spinning by laying it on a block of
wood or on a smooth stone. They then exerted rolling pressure with
a thick iron spindle to remove the seeds. The cotton yarn was
afterwards spun with a distaff. The method of ginning observed
by Park in 1796 was the same as that followed in Iseyin at present.
Park reports that weaving was performed by men on small
narrow looms having a web seldom more than four inches broad.
Women dyed cloth a rich lasting blue with color made from leaves
freshly gathered from the indigo plant. The leaves were pounded
in a wooden mortar, then mixed with a strong lye in an earthen jar.
The lye consisted of wood ashes to which urine was sometimes added.
The cloth was steeped in this mixture until it acquired the desired
color and a beautiful purple gloss. W. Bosman (p. 459) calls atten-
tion to the skill of the people of Benin in making blue dye from locally
grown indigo plants about the year 1700. R£ne" Caillie" (I, 359)
describes the manufacture of indigo dye in Sierra Leone and else-
where. H. Barth mentions the cultivation of indigo plants in
Baghirmi and gives a list of villages most famous for the production
of this dye (III, pp. 356-359). He notes the high quality of dyeing
in Kano (II, p. 129).
During his travels in Adamaua Passarge observed the use of
indigo pits for dyeing (p. 82). He says that leaves and twigs are
taken from plants which are cultivated. After the leaves and twigs
have been dried and pounded they are added to water. The dye is
allowed to remain in the pit for twenty-four hours before use. Cloth
is beaten over a log with wooden mallets like those used at Kano.
Passarge (p. 84) gives an outline drawing of a loom and shuttle of
the pattern observed at Iseyin.
In describing his travels through Ashanti R. A. Freeman states
(p. 223) that dye pits existed at Bontuku. Each pit consisted of a
well five feet across, surrounded by a coping of sun-dried clay
nearly three feet high. In the pits was a dark blue fluid having
an iridescent scum which gave off an offensive odor when stirred.
After the leaves had been pounded in large wooden mortars they were
dried and pressed into balls six inches in diameter. The balls were
burnt to ashes, which were then mixed with ashes of shea-butter
trees and other plants. The fluid in the pits was not considered fit
for use until it had been stirred and allowed to ferment for ten days.
The colors obtained varied from a pale blue to a blue black, and
these pigments were sometimes used for dyeing yarn before it was
woven. Near Baya Seyarum on the western shore of Lake Chad,
Boyd Alexander saw slaves picking the leaves of the creeping plant
from which blue dye was made (II, p. 88).
T. J. Alldridge, who reports on weaving and dyeing in Sierra
Leone in 1910, gives information (pp. 244, 344, 353) which is in agree-
ment with that supplied by Matthews in 1788. Indigo dye is still
used for coloring native cloths which have served as currency for
a long period. Alldridge states that growing of cotton by natives
is ceasing because of the importation of colored yarns.
The researches of B. Laufer (I, pp. 370-371) suggest that the
vegetable commodity known as indigo originated in India. The
word indigo is a "generalized commercial label for a blue dye-stuff,
but without botanical value."
In summarizing the evidence for the origin and diffusion of
textile processes the conclusions of Ling Roth are important. At
the end of extensive studies he states that the horizontal, narrow-
band, treadle loom possibly came from Portugal. The distribution
along the coast of west Africa and the hinterland supports this
theory; moreover, this loom is not used in other parts of Africa.
The vertical mat loom is thought by Ling Roth to be "possibly
indigenous to the heart of Africa." The third form of loom, namely,
the vertical cotton loom, is shown by Ling Roth to occur in Nigeria
as already noted. The distribution passes in a narrow track across
the Sahara, along north Africa, and into Egypt, which Ling Roth
418 Culture Areas of Nigeria
suggests as the place of origin. This distribution of the vertical
cotton loom, as plotted by Ling Roth, when considered in conjunc-
tion with the notes of Petrie on the existence of such a loom in pre-
dynastic Egypt, lends support to the theory of an Egyptian origin.
The other looms discussed by Ling Roth are not found in the area
now under discussion.
With regard to cotton ginning, spinning, weaving on the vertical
cotton loom, and dyeing, the historical evidence strongly favors a
single origin and wide diffusion rather than independent invention.
The details of technique also support this view.
Movements of people from the Mediterranean seaboard to
northern Nigeria and the western Sudan, and along the whole area
from Gambia to Lake Chad, have been continuous through warfare
and trade. Moreover, the historical evidence made clear that for
perhaps a thousand years great emporia of manufacture and trade
have existed in west Africa, notably at Ghana, Timbuktu, Kano,
Sokoto, Katsina, and in Bornu. On these focal points trade from
the Mediterranean converged, and from such centers extended a
southward distribution of traits that gradually penetrated the
Negro culture of the southern forest regions.
The market places of Ibadan and Ilorin display a great variety
of baskets, mats, and other products of the plaiting industry in which
fiber of palm leaves is used, and in addition to this material, grasses
and millet stalks are utilized. Dyes are of native make. Black
pigment is obtained by steeping fiber in black mud, washing it,
then soaking it in a solution made from sorghum stalks. Yellow dye
is made from ripe fruits of the Borassus palm.
The Yoruba of Ilorin make coiled basketry in which each coil
is from half an inch to two inches in diameter, and of loose foundation.
The coils are usually bound together with strips of yellow, green,
purple, and red bast in order to form checkered and triangular pat-
terns. The form of the largest baskets is square or round, and their
height frequently attains 70 cm. (Plate C, Fig. 5).
Mat-making is also important. The colors and patterns are the
same as those used for baskets and the size often reaches 180 x 200
cm. Miscellaneous plaiting made and sold by the Yoruba includes
small containers for salt, coarse baskets for straining the mush of
yams, large covers for head-loads, sifters for meal of manioc, and
shallow round trays which are used on market booths for displaying
The Nupe of Bida specialize in plaiting large oval sleeping mats
which are rolled to contain the personal baggage of native travelers;
some of these mats are almost 200 cm. long and 100 cm. broad.
Conical hats made from palm fiber are a noted product of the
Nupe (Plate CXIII, Fig. 2).
In the markets of Kano the products of Ilorin and Bida are seen
for sale, and in addition to these many distinctive local manufactures
flourish. Round baskets covered with as many as eight hundred
cowrie shells are artistic and attractive. The baskets are made of
small coils so tightly sewn as to make the weaving almost water-
tight, and the stitching of the cowries is neatly done (Plate C, Fig. 2).
A product of Kano is a specialized form of basketry decorated with
colored leather stretched tightly over the outside of the basket. In
some examples the basketry is ornamented with cowrie shells and
leather work. Colored wools may be arranged in tassels which are
sewn on the edges of the baskets. The booth of a basket maker is
shown in Plate CXII, Figs. 1, 2.
In the Hausa center of Sokoto mats are made by plaiting long
strips of fiber then sewing them together with an iron needle. Large
panniers are made by bending four pliant sticks into rounded arches.
These form the sides of a basket which is then covered with hide.
The finest weaving of basket trays is shown in some examples
from Potiskum, though they were not made there, and their place
of origin is doubtful. The Bolewa of Potiskum use a long oval
basket of yellow fiber covered with a wide-meshed cotton netting
for suspension. This is a container in which a bride takes her
wardrobe to her new home.
The most neatly made baskets, which are absolutely water-tight,
are woven by the Buduma of Lake Chad. The general form of these
baskets is oval with a narrowing toward the top, which is provided
with a conical lid and a handle. There is a splitting of the stitching
which 0. T. Mason describes as the furcate coil (Report, U. S. Nat.
Mus., Washington, 1902, p. 244, Plate 23). The Buduma are skilled
in weaving patterns in red and black fiber; these include conven-
tionalized forms of men on horseback (Plate C, Fig. 1). Among the
Buduma, and in Maiduguri, basket work of the Sara is in use. The
distinguishing feature of these baskets is the employment of bright
green, yellow, and red colors in the weaving.
420 Culture Areas of Nigeria
The most ancient African basketry which is datable is that of
Egypt about the third millennium B.C. At this time shallow platters
were made by sewing together coils of loose foundation; that is to
say, each coil consists of many fine stalks of grass bound together.
The probability that this Egyptian work is a prototype of modern
African basketry is shown by M. Schmidal, after a detailed exami-
nation of technique, including forms of stitches (Altagyptische
Techniken an afrikanischen Spiralwulstkorben. Festschrift P. W.
Schmidt, Vienna, 1928, pp. 645-654).
Working in leather may be regarded as a distinctive trait of the
Northern Provinces if comparison is made between the manufactures
of northern and southern Nigeria. Of leather-working in the south
S. Johnson says (p. 120): "The Yoruba were formerly their own
tanners and each one learned to prepare for himself whatever leather
he wanted to use. Black, white, green, brown, and yellow are the
prevailing colors but these materials are now largely imported from
Hausaland, principally from Kano."
The leather work of northern Nigeria is only a specialized local
form of a trait which is found in northern Africa, across the Sahara,
and through the western Sudan. The principal centers are Morocco,
Hoggar, Agades, Timbuktu, Kano, Sokoto, Yola, Adamaua, and
A. van Gennep has written a complete description of the styles
of work, which are distinctive each for its own locality. He dis-
tinguishes nine processes, including cutting, scratching, stamping,
embroidering, and combinations of two or more of these techniques.
The variety of styles calls attention to two points of importance in
connection with handicrafts: firstly, the diversity of technique
which artisans may develop when dealing with a tractable material;
and secondly, the tendency for cultural foci to develop. Each center
has its distinctive methods, though these local styles form but one
cultural trait that has spread by diffusion over ancient trade routes.
Leather work was of great excellence and antiquity in Egypt,
and Petrie (pp. 147-150) states that the leather workers' craft was
of great importance in Egypt in all ages. The two principal aspects
of the technique were applique" work in colors, and the cutting of
fine strips, both of which are well-known processes at the present
time. The leather industry of Agades is today characterized by
cutting a fine network of leather strips, and by removing portions
of the surface to form a pattern by contrast with those parts that
are allowed to remain uncut.
The leather industry did not escape the observation of Mungo
Park (1795) who reports (p. 282) that "leather work is in the hands
of specialists who travel. They can tan and dress leather with very
great expedition by steeping the hide first in a mixture of wood-
ashes and water until it parts with the hair, and afterwards using
leaves of a tree as an astringent. They are at great pains to render
the hide as soft and pliant as possible by rubbing it frequently between
their hands and beating it upon a stone. Bullock hide is made into
sandals, while sheep- and goatskins are used for making sheaths for
swords and knives. Red dye is made from millet stalks, and yellow
coloring is extracted from the roots of a plant."
Of this industry at Agades Barth states that all leather work
with the exception of saddles is carried on by women. Saddlebags
are mentioned as being particularly well made, though Barth thinks
that the work of Agades is surpassed by that of Timbuktu (I, p. 454).
At Kano in the year 1850 sandals were the principal manufacture
in leather, and today they are of great importance. Barth mentions
that sandals were exported to great distances from Kano. He
further notes the dyeing of tanned hides and their export across the
Sahara to Tripoli (II, p. 130). The bags and cushions of Sokoto
are very beautiful (IV, p. 180). At Timbuktu bags, cushions, and
leather pouches were neatly made, especially by Tuareg women
(V, p. 18). The industry thrives in that town today (Dupuis-
Yakouba, II, pp. 61-78).
Cutting sandals is one of the most ancient forms of leather
work. In Egypt sandals were used as early as 3500 B.C., and by
1500 B.C. they were the usual footware, which had to be removed
in the presence of superiors. Removal of sandals is a mark of respect
in north Africa at the present day.
B. Meakin's description of tanning, dyeing, and making articles
of leather in Moorish towns indicates that the technique of north
Africa, the Sahara, and northern Nigeria is of a common origin from
which local methods and styles have evolved. The black dye used
in Morocco is made from indigo, gall, and sulphate of iron, the mix-
ture employed at Kano today. J. Buttikofer's colored pictures of
Liberian leather work show it to be the same kind as types already
mentioned (II, Plates XXVI, XXVII, pp. 277-279).
The best collection of leather work, including sandals, was made
in Kano, and although foreign contacts have stimulated the manu-
422 Culture Areas of Nigeria
facture of cushions and bags for Europeans, the tanning, dyeing,
and ornamenting of these are native industries which are still carried
out in the old-time way. A series of tools together with sandals at
all stages of manufacture (Field Museum, Hall D) illustrates this
ancient and well-developed technique.
The principal tools were a scraper, a small, sharp knife, and an
awl, which are products of a native forge. Before beginning work
the sandal maker selected paper patterns according to which he
cut out the bases of the sandals in oxhide. Over the thick soles
thin red leather was first pasted, then sewn by hand. An awl was
used during the sewing process, and a small knife was used for
cutting out the ankle straps in thin red, and yellow leather.
Among a number of miscellaneous objects made by the leather
workers of Kano are tobacco horns covered with red leather; leather
pouches for carrying a barber's outfit consisting of bleeding cups,
tweezers, and razors; also covers for loose leaves of the Koran.
The making of charms encased in leather appears to be in the hands
of specialists, one of whom was seen at work in Mongonu near Lake
Chad. In addition to the usual flat pouches containing extracts
from the Koran the artisan encased pointed pieces of wood in red
leather as charms against snake-bite.
I was able to obtain in Kano a few round ottoman covers made
in Agades. One side was plain red without any kind of decoration,
while the other side was finely cut into strips forming triangular
patterns. The excision of parts of the surface leather, while leaving
other parts uncut, is cleverly done so as to form checkered designs.
At Maiduguri strips of hide were twisted to form hobbles for camels
and horses, and along with these there was a sale for leather buckets
which are used for lowering into wells. Cutting long tapering whips
from hide was the work of a Buduma specialist at Baya Seyarum.
The only people observed with leather clothing were males of
the Keri-Keri at Potiskum, and some Gwozo hill men in the market
at Maiduguri. The latter wore caps and loin coverings of undressed
hide (Plates CXXVII, CXXIX, Fig. 1). The Angas women of
Pankshin carried young babies in rawhide pouches on their backs.
On sale in Kano, Sokoto, and as far south as Ibadan are skin
bottles having the outside covered with natural hair while the inside
is smooth. C. K. Meek (I, vol. I, p. 161) gives the following descrip-
tion of these skin vessels: "A clay mould of the shape required is
first made. The worker then takes a piece of hide which has been
soaked in water and shaves off the hairy outer covering, using for
this purpose a knife with a crescent-shaped blade. The moist inner
skin is then cut into a series of thin strips, and with these the mould
is encircled. These strips knit together when left to dry in the sun,
and the mould inside is removed by being gently tapped with a
piece of bone until it breaks. Skin vessels made of strips of skin
in this way will open up if exposed to wet. They are usually decorated
on the outside with strips of hairy hide." This kind of work has
recently been described and illustrated by F. de Zeltner (II, 1932,
pp. 23-34) and by H. Balfour (VII).
The smallest of these vessels, not more than 7 cm. long, are made
for holding powdered malachite, which is used by women for darken-
ing their eyelashes and eyelids. Vessels a little larger are used as
snuff containers. The largest receptacle of this kind in Field Museum
collection was obtained at Maradi in French Niger Territory. The
height is about 70 cm. Around the top of the vessel are three small
receptacles for condiments, while the larger container is used for
holding butter or honey (Plate XCVII, Fig. 1).
Such a container is made and used by the Tuareg of Asben (F. R.
Rodd, Plate XXIV, Fig. 9). A. van Gennep (II, vol. II, Plate I,
Fig. 5) pictures a pottery vessel of the kind, made of skin, obtained
at Maradi. The correspondence is exact even to the three small cups
at the top of the large vessel. This pottery vessel was obtained by
van Gennep at Beni Daula, Algeria. It is made of red earth which
is decorated with black and red designs. The whole surface has
been covered with a slip of resin that has turned yellow after burning.
This is not a mold, for according to Meek the mold is broken, which
must necessarily be the procedure in order to remove it.
Presumably the pottery vessel pictured by van Gennep is the
prototype which later suggested the idea of making the same form
in skin by molding this material over the earthenware. This is an
instructive example of the transference of design and technique
from one medium to another. An account of Nigerian leather work
and the manufacture of dyes from indigenous plants is given by
C. K. Meek (I, vol. I, pp. 160-163).
Pottery is still made generally throughout the Northern and
Southern Provinces of Nigeria, but C. K. Meek and P. A. Talbot
are agreed on the decadence of manufacture and design when modern
examples are compared with those of a former period whose date is
424 Culture Areas of Nigeria
unknown. Although this is true, there yet remain several centers
remarkable for the abundance of locally made pots showing great
variety of shape, and decoration with slips of several colors.
At Ogbomosho pottery-making was carried out by elderly
women whose work was distinguished by size, strength, and sym-
metry, rather than decorative effect. Some of the pots were half an
inch thick and three feet high, and without decoration except for
a polished, reddened rim. The methods of firing, first by hardening
the pots by lighting fires within them, and later by baking in a large
kiln of grass, likewise the process of applying a slip and polishing
with a stone, are shown in Plates CI 1 1 and CIV.
The market place of Ilorin presented two main classes of ware
having similar forms produced in each of the colors, red and black,
which are native-made pigments applied as thin slips after baking.
In addition to large coarse pots for storing grain, a great variety of
pots and dishes for palm-oil stew was displayed. Large, rounded,
perforated pots were said to be used for drying and smoking meat.
These were coarsely made without polish or decoration.
Large circular bowls with lids were black in color and
highly polished. On a surface of this kind scratched, geometrical
patterns showed distinctly. Some of the vessels were ornamented
when soft by pressing around them a cord that left symmetrical
designs on the wet clay.
Lamps were of three distinct forms, which were produced in both
the red and black ware, and the market place at Ilorin presented
a remarkable sight when hundreds of these lamps were lit. In
each form of lamp is a receptacle for oil, from which reservoir the
wick hangs over the edge of the lamp. These lamps show an Egyptian
and Mediterranean influence. Among the black pottery were small
vessels for ink which is used by mallams when writing Koranic texts
on smooth boards (Plates XCV, Figs. 4, 5; XCVI, Figs. 4, 6).
The Yoruba near Ilorin make one variety of pottery that is dis-
tinct in style from all others, and I know of nothing resembling it
except examples from north Africa. Three vessels of unusual merit
were a round long-necked water cooler having a handle; a water
cooler with a handle, spout, and stoppered opening; and a short,
round form of the second example. The vessels are made of a light
brown, micaceous clay, ornamented with a red slip painted in designs
which include geometrical patterns and human figures (Plate XCVI,
Figs. 1, 2).
Near the market place at Kano the making of pottery was ob-
served. The female potter, who made use of the punching and coiling
process, relied for molding on the use of a stone pounder with a hand-
grip, a flat piece of board, and her hands. The three stages of the
work, from the first punching of the mass of clay to the firing, are
shown on Plates CV and CVI. The products of the potter's craft
at Kano were remarkable for the glittering micaceous clay that was
used. I was taken a few miles from the potter's home to a dry,
shallow water-course, whose bed seemed to be largely composed
of this material, which occurs only locally. The largest vessels
made at Kano were water jars 71 cm. high, each of which was built
up in three sections. The base was punched to shape and allowed
to dry, then a middle section was coiled and molded. When this
was dry a third and final section was coiled and pressed into the
form of a neck. Ornament was added by pressing a cord on the
In Sokoto market place were several distinct kinds of pottery,
all of which were of local manufacture and distribution. Round
water pots on clay pedestals are peculiar, not only in form but in
the method of decoration. Round the rim of the pot a broad area
is marked into diamond-shaped triangular patterns which are painted
with vivid colors including red, white, green, and yellow.
Water jars and clay jugs with handles are made in Sokoto from
micaceous clay which is bright yellow before baking, but a dull
bronze color after firing. The most peculiar vessels are jugs con-
stricted by deep grooves extending around the middle (Plate XCV,
Fig. 2). Minor products of the potter's art at Sokoto are clay camels
conventionally made with three legs; small dolls; and tobacco pipes.
The potter's art at Sokoto has been described in detail by W. E.
Nicholson (I). The chief potters are the Adarawa of Berber extrac-
tion, whose country is north of Sokoto, and the Zorumawa, a people
of hybrid extraction physically related to the Fulani and Mandingo.
Owing to a trade convention, and not because of religious taboo,
certain articles are made by men and others by women only.
Nicholson gives a detailed account of the technique comprising four
stages of building, and from this account the process appears to be
almost identical with the one seen at Kano. Other articles describing
Nigerian pottery are to be found in the writings of N. W. Thomas
(I) and A. J. N. Tremearne (I). Outside of Egypt the potter's
wheel is not used in Africa with the exception of an occasional
occurrence along the northern coast.
426 Culture Areas of Nigeria
Consideration of old types of pottery obtained from the Bolewa
of Potiskum lends further support to the statement that technique
is declining, for undoubtedly the old forms are better than the new
in design and execution. A large jug and round pots for beer are
the finest examples of old work (Plate XCV, Figs. 1, 3). The pots,
which are black inside and red outside, have been polished both
internally and externally. Decoration has been added by scratching
straight lines, triangles, and lozenge-shaped patterns after burning;
these incisions have been filled with white clay. One special develop-
ment of the potter's art at Potiskum is the making of drain pipes
for roofs of houses. The whole surface of the pipe is covered with
a red slip on which patterns are painted in white. The paint used
appears to be a kind of gypsum.
Near Medowa, in French Niger Territory, native pottery bears
no resemblance to that of the neighboring towns of Sokoto and
Kano in Nigeria. In the region of Medowa large jars for water and
round cups with handles are made of coarse red clay, which is un-
smoothed, unpolished, and without incised decorations. The whole
surface of the large water jars is covered with alternate bands of
white and brown on which zigzag lines are crudely painted. The
height of these vessels is 63 cm. The smaller vessels are slightly
ornamented, each with a band of purple stain which is made from
a ferruginous earth. A stain similar in color is used for ornamenting
the necks of the pots made at Sokoto, but apart from this decoration
the types of pottery from Sokoto and adjacent French territory
The pottery from Sokoto is highly specialized in form, color, and
decorations, while that from French Niger Territory is extremely
crude. Probably the explanation is to be found in the fact that
potters of Medowa lacked suitable clay. Examination of their work
shows that the earth used has been liberally mixed with coarse
chaff as a binding substance, and even with this aid the material
Wood-carving, Gourds, and Musical Instruments
The Yoruba and Bini were formerly noted for their wood-carving,
which now shows great decline in technique, though several classes
of objects are still worth acquiring. At Benin a few human figures
and plaques are carved under the direction of the Obba at the craft's
school. The few modern examples obtained prove that the ancient
ability is not yet defunct.
From the compound of the Bologun (war chief) of Ilorin two
wooden posts were obtained. Each of the chief's drummers regards
a post of this kind as his own emblem and he stands before the post
when playing on public occasions. One of the posts is carved in
imitation of the links of a chain.
At Ife two carefully carved wooden masks and one wooden effigy
were purchased. These are valuable because of their ritualistic
significance for they are worn at the Egungun festival, when masked,
robed figures parade the streets, purporting to be deceased persons
of importance. One of the masks (Plate CII, Fig. 2) represents
Jogbo, a small man who had a reputation for skill in spear-throwing.
Details such as scarification on his cheeks and ornamentation on
his cap are clearly shown. The figure of Elebiti, who was a warrior
and magician, is carved in a seated position (Plate XCIV, Fig. 4).
On his head he carries the sacred symbol of a ram's horns. A wooden
mask represents Fopo (Plate CII, Fig. 1), who had the reputation
of being a successful warrior and a harsh man. His idea of humor
was expressed by entering the market place, where he amused
himself by mixing the contents of food baskets.
Among the minor products of the wood-carver's art are wooden
dolls, hair combs, and spoons, all of which are crudely made.
Nupe artisans of Bida are distinguished by the carving of wooden
stools showing great originality of style, which is unlike any other
carving in Africa. The worker uses only two tools, an adze for hack-
ing out the form from a rough block of wood, and a small knife
for carving geometrical patterns on the top (Plate XCIV, Figs. 1, 3).
The stools vary in size from a height of 18 to 52 cm., and the number
of legs ranges from four to eleven. Some of the stools are square,
others round, but in no instance is there any joinery; all work is
done by cutting from a block. Each leg tapers from the top to the
bottom, and in the round stool with eleven symmetrically carved
legs there is evidence of considerable control of a hard material.
This hard wood is sometimes intractable because of the occurrence
of knots and other flaws.
The geometrical patterns with which the tops of stools are carved
indicate that the worker had a clear design and a correct knowledge
of the way in which parts of a design should overlap. Apart from
the stools, which illustrate the development of a unique technique
in one industrial center, the wood-carving of Bida is not of exceptional
merit. The creation of local types of industry is aptly illustrated
by comparative study of wooden stools of the Ivory Coast, Ashanti,
428 Culture Areas of Nigeria
Nigeria, Bamenda in Cameroon, and the regions of the southwest
Congo and central Angola. And within Nigeria itself are many
Round wooden bowls of hard black material, carved on the out-
side and smooth inside, are made near Potiskum by one man only.
No examples of this kind were seen elsewhere, and the instance
appears to be a creation of technique by one person. The carving
on these food bowls is remarkably well executed, and division of
the whole surface to accommodate the designs indicates precise
coordination of hand and eye (Plate XCIII, Fig. 3).
Ceremonial paddles carved by the Jekri were obtained near
Sapele, and one of antiquity and artistic merit was purchased from
the leader of a troupe of Ibo dancers at Onitsha (Plate CI, Figs. 1, 9).
The ornamental paddle is used as a baton for controlling move-
ment and rhythm. Patterns on the paddles of the Jekri are chiefly
geometrical but the crocodile is often represented. H. Balfour (V)
calls attention to a ceremonial paddle having a figure representing
the hippopotamus spirit, and there is a probability that the object
formed part of the cult equipment of a sacred serpent.
From Zinder in French Niger Territory a wooden snake carved
in hard black wood was obtained. Spots on the reptile are made
with inlaid ivory, while the fangs are of the same material. Serpent
cults and beliefs have had a great stronghold in southern Nigeria
and many survivals of these ancient ideas occur in both the Southern
and Northern Provinces, but the origin and use of this serpent are
unknown at the present day.
Wooden sandals three inches high, decorated with burnt patterns,
were obtained from the women of the Buduma, and the Shuwa
Arabs. The former live at Baya Seyarum, on the shore of Lake
Chad, and the latter at Maiduguri (Plate XCIV, Fig. 7).
Cutting and staining gourds (Plate XCIII) is probably the
most artistic branch of the carver's art, which is usually found in
the hands of a male specialist. In each district occur one or more
types of gourd decoration which have only a restricted distribution.
These distinctive techniques again illustrate the tendency toward
local developments that do not diffuse far outside the areas of their
origin. In addition to the variety of colors, including indigo, red,
and yellow, there are distinct methods of cutting and burning. These
processes afford illustration of the variety of products that result
from local ingenuity.
Yoruba workers of Ogbomosho devote most of their time to
the production of gourd receptacles which are made by bisecting
a round fruit so that the upper half forms a lid for the lower. The
brown outer surface of the gourd is scraped away, leaving a white
surface which is decorated with deeply incised patterns of geometrical
figures. A second technique involves no cutting of patterns, but
these are made prominent by scraping away the brown surface of
the gourd in such a way that the remaining cuticle forms symmetrical
designs. Ladles and spoons are made by cutting long-necked gourds
lengthwise into two equal parts; the tool used is a saw of native
make. In addition to this tool, the carver uses a small adze and
three knives of different sizes and curvatures (Plate CI, Figs. 3, 5).
In the town of Bida, where people of the Nupe tribe predominate,
there are three distinct processes producing ornamented types of
gourds that are not found elsewhere. The most attractive of these
methods depends on an initial staining of the entire surface of the
gourd with indigo. When the coloring is dry the worker deeply
carves geometrical patterns which stand out boldly in white on the
blue background. The same process is followed with gourds which
are stained red before the incisions are made. A third technique
retains the yellow surface of the gourd, on which patterns are burned.
Hausa workers of Sokoto use tools that were not observed in
other centers. One of these is an iron hook at the end of a long wooden
handle; this tool is used for scraping out the contents of a long narrow
gourd. The other implements are a curved knife and a double-
edged saw (Plate CI, Figs. 2, 3, 5). The principal technique is a
staining of the gourd with red coloring before the patterns are carved.
A feature of Hausa work in Kano is the making of long narrow gourds
into which henna stain is poured. Women wear such gourds on their
arms so that their finger nails dip into the stain. The entire outer
surface of the gourd is finely carved with geometrical designs colored
red, green, and purple.
In the market of Maiduguri the three processes just noted are
employed, though the final products are distinctive. One effective
method consists of reddening the entire surface of the gourd, then
rubbing and scraping away parts of the red coloring so that the
original yellow surface stands out as patterns on a red background.
Other processes are the burning of finely incised lines and the burning
of surface designs without any preliminary cutting. The most
artistic effect is produced by incising the lines closely together and
then burning them carefully ((Plate XCIII, Figs. 4, 5).
430 Culture Areas of Nigeria
After examining Nigerian calabashes from an esthetic point of
view, Miss Conover, of the Art Institute, Chicago, said, "The
calabash designs are bold and startling in their effect. Spontaneity
and freedom are their dominating characteristics. The lines
employed analyze into the simplest of basic structures, as if nature
herself grew painted and carved calabashes."
The art of making musical instruments is closely connected with
wood-carving and the decoration of gourds. The algaita is a trumpet-
like instrument which may be seen in everyday use at Ilorin, Kano,
Sokoto, and Maiduguri. The body of the instrument is of wood
covered with hide. The mouthpiece is of brass, and there are four
stop holes. Among the Yoruba of Ibadan and Ilorin this instrument
is played by a musician, who is accompanied by a drummer
using a drum of hourglass form decorated with brass ornaments.
The drum is played with a curved wooden stick (Plate CXLIX,
Fig. 2). The Yoruba name for such a drum is bembe.
The largest collection of musical instruments was made at
Maiduguri where a single orchestra used the following instruments
(Plate XCVII, Figs. 2, 3, 5):
(1) An oval gourd rattle containing seeds.
(2) Stringed musical instruments made from round calabashes
to which long wooden handles are attached. The calabashes are
ornamented either by burning designs, or by covering the gourd
with snake skin. Cowrie shells are also used with decorative effect.
Usually such an instrument has two strings of coarse black hair,
probably from the tail of a horse. A small wooden bow, also strung
with hair, is used for rubbing the strings of the instrument.
(3) A small barrel-shaped drum 43 cm. long has a membrane
at each end. This instrument is struck with a curved stick.
(4) A rounded pottery drum, made from an earthenware pot 22
cm. high and 16 cm. broad, has a skin top that the performer taps
with his fingers.
At Maiduguri traveling bands of musicians included female
performers who beat time with wooden clappers. Pottery drums
were used, and the two principal male dancers wore heavy, iron,
ankle rattles. In the market at Maiduguri a long, narrow gourd
71 x 8 cm., ornamented with burnt patterns, is sold. The use of
this is not obvious, but a demonstration shows that it is used to
produce a booming sound. The female performer sat cross-legged,
placed one hand over the upper end intermittently, and tapped the
other end of the instrument on the inner side of her thigh. The
form of the instrument suggests a trumpet but this appearance is
The instruments garayah and a similar form molo (Plate XCVII,
Fig. 4) have a wide distribution in northern Nigeria and French
Niger Territory. The body of the instrument is a small, oval gourd
covered with hide, and to this sound-box a wooden handle is attached.
The two strings are made of horsehair. In the market at Sokoto
an itinerant musician was seen with an iron hoop 35 cm. in diameter
on which some jingling iron rings were fastened. A small ring was
used for striking the larger ring (Plate CLII, Fig. 2).
Fulani musicians near Pankshin played small drums of the hour-
glass pattern. These were held under the arms of the performers,
who struck them with curved drumsticks. The Munshi of Katsina
Ala had the hourglass drum, a cylindrical wooden drum with a
tympanum at each end, and the stringed instrument molo.
The Angas tribe near Pankshin used the following musical
instruments (Plate CXXX, Figs. 1, 2):
(1) A rectangular baseboard of reeds, from the outer cuticle of
which thin strips had been cut, but not severed, so as to form rattan
strings that were elevated on bridges. Each of the rattan strings
had a binding of fiber in the middle of its length. The amount
of fiber used on the string was not the same in each instance; conse-
quently, some strings were thicker than others, with a resultant
difference in the frequency of vibration when plucked. Those strings
which were thickly bound with fiber produced the low notes. In
the baseboard one soundless reed was inserted between each set
of three musical reeds. C. K. Meek (I, vol. II, p. 158) says that this
instrument is found in many parts of the world and is probably
Malayan in origin.
(2) Two reed pipes which were bound together and blown by
(3) Curved horns 36 cm. in length which were held sideways
while blown through oval apertures cut for that purpose.
(4) Heavy iron leg rattles which were used during dancing.
(5) Two drums that were played in unison while lying on their
sides. The larger of these had been hewn from a single block of wood
so as to produce a barrel-shaped body standing on three legs. Over
the round opening at the top of the instrument a membrane was
pegged. The smaller instrument was made in the same way. In
the hills near Pankshin was a hut in which several of the larger drums
432 Culture Areas of Nigeria
were seen. These were not purchasable because they were regarded
as sacred objects into which the spirits of dead chiefs entered on
ceremonial occasions. This is but one of many instances of the
sacredness of drums in African tribal life, and as Rattray has shown
in detail (III, IV passim) sacred drums are among the most im-
portant cult objects used in Ashanti worship of ancestors. In fact,
sacred drums which are temporary shrines, also drum-houses, are
known from Sierra Leone to Uganda. Musicians interested in the
technique, the history, and the social and magical significance of
instruments, will find a valuable contribution to this subject by
P. G. Harris (III).
Important among skilled crafts is the manufacture of beads at
Ilorin by the Yoruba, whose methods and materials were studied.
The most essential part of the equipment is a large slab of marble-
like stone measuring 52 x 31 x 2 cm. This slab is worn into deep
crescentic grooves owing to the continual rubbing of the hard stone
beads. Slender iron punches about 6 cm. long are used in conjunc-
tion with a small, flat hammer. The processes are chipping the beads
to the approximate shape, drilling, and rubbing to shape on the stone
slab. Cylindrical beads having a length of 4 cm. and a diameter
of 1 cm. are the best examples of this craft. The Hausa word for
such beads is lentana; the Yoruba name is ileke.
In addition to these long cylindrical beads, short, thick, barrel-
shaped beads are made, and less commonly triangular ornaments
for necklaces are rubbed down and perforated at the apex. The
drilling of long beads is carried out while the stone is still rough;
consequently, it can be held firmly between the great toe and the next.
The fine drill, after being dipped in palm oil, is tapped repeatedly
with the hammer; meanwhile it is revolved between the operator's
thumb and finger.
One ornament used by the Yoruba consists of a collar made of a
large number of strong black hairs, probably from the manes and
tails of horses. Two black leather tips are formed as button and
buttonhole, respectively. For women there are long belts made
from the hard exteriors of oil-palm nuts. Each disk is rounded,
perforated, and smoothed by rubbing on a stone covered with sand
and water. Such a belt of almost a meter in length is worn next
to the body.
At Bida a company of glass workers forms an exclusive guild
which has existed there since the year 1850, though the origin and
history of the trade is not known. At the present day beads and
glass bangles are made by melting bottles and imported beads. The
craft may have had an Egyptian origin, since cultural and racial
drifts have originated from the direction of the Nile Valley. Yet,
Meek's statement (I, vol. I, p. 160) that "the Egyptians knew how
to make glass by at least 3500 B.C." is questionable. Petrie says
(p. 119) that there has been much misunderstanding about the age
of glass in Egypt. No blown glass is known in Egypt before Roman
times and "there does not appear to have been any working of
glassy material by itself, apart from a base of stone or pottery, until
after 1600 B.C." But even a much later date than 1600 B.C. would
give ample time for the establishment of the glass-workers' craft in
Nigeria as a result of Egyptian influences. Yet there is no reason
to assume great antiquity for the craft at Bida, and it may have
arrived from north Africa in the last century.
At one time I was under the impression that glass-working was
carried on at Bida only. This may have been so for many years, and
the occurrence of glass-making at Bontuku in Ashanti may perhaps
be regarded as a diffusion of a cultural trait from Bida, notwith-
standing the secrecy of the glass-workers' guild. On the contrary,
the craft may have traveled from Bontuku to Bida, or the two
centers may have derived their craft from a common source which
is now no longer functioning. But however this may be, the descrip-
tion of glass-making given by R. A. Freeman (p. 229) agrees so well
with my notes made at Bida, and with the account of Meek (I, vol. I,
p. 158), that a connection between the two centers can be assumed.
Freeman's account states that the glass workers carry on their
occupation in a dark hut having a furnace in a large water jar
buried in the floor with its mouth at ground level. The bellows,
tongs, and thin iron rods for manipulating the glowing mass of glass
are of the same type as those used at Bida, but the furnace at Bida
is built in the form of a clay cone standing above floor level. At
Bida white beads from European sources are melted and drawn
out into thin wisps of glass which are added to the molten mass of
bottle glass. When the bangles and beads are completed they clearly
show streaks of white on the blue or green background. Freeman
says that at Bontuku the mass of hot glass is rolled on white beads,
which then melt.
The tools purchased at Bida are tongs that are quite different
from those used by brass workers and blacksmiths; a file of native
make for trimming the rough edges of glass; iron rods on whose ends
434 Culture Areas of Nigeria
the mass of viscid glass is twisted; an implement with a flat iron
blade and a wooden handle, for rounding glass bangles; and scales
in which glass is balanced with a counterpoise of stone.
Carefully made stone arm-rings of greenish color are worn by
the veiled Buzu of French Niger Territory. Such ornaments are
purchasable in Kano, but I have not seen them south of that area.
One example obtained in Kano had been repaired with small metal
rivets. F. R. Rodd (p. 285) gives information respecting armlets
and other personal ornaments of the Tuareg of Air.
In Air stone arm-rings are of two types, the cylindrical and the
flattened. The second type is more important because of the
traditional significance attached to the number of rings worn and
their position on the arms. These rings are first worn when a sword
is adopted in early manhood. Boys and women are not allowed
to wear arm-rings. The rings are cut by hand, without a lathe,
from a lump of stone about an inch thick. The rough ring is smoothed
and worn down with rasps and files, then finally cleaned with sand
and water. At the completion of this process the rings are dipped
in fat and baked to give the slightly porous stone a deep black color
and a polished surface. The flat rings, which taper from the inner
to the outer aspect, are passed from father to son. They are often
riveted with brass plates if they happen to be broken, and in some
instances the rings bear a name written in Tifinagh.
Making of stone arm-rings is an ancient African process which
was known in predynastic Egypt. Of the Egyptian technique
Petrie says (p. 81), "Flint armlets were made, chipped out of a solid
block, yet no thicker than a straw. Finally these were ground with
emery to smooth them for wearing."
Among archaeological finds from Kordofan H. A. MacMichael
(I, Plate XIX) shows stone rings of unknown ages which suggest
Egyptian influence. Stone armlets are worn by most of the natives
of the Northern Territory of Ashanti. These ornaments, according
to A. W. Cardinall, have the appearance of black marble veined
with white. Similar rings are made by the natives themselves in
the hilly country of north Mamprussi, though a number are imported
by traders from the French Sudan. The edges of a stone disk are
rubbed away on the harder rocks until the object assumes the size
and shape intended. The central portion of stone is abraded with
an iron instrument, first on one side, then on the other. The armlet
is tapped to chip out the attenuated central portion, after which
further rubbing gives smoothness.
Among the ornaments obtainable in Kano and French Niger
Territory are small brass crosses for wearing as neck pendants and
small triangular glass ornaments, each having a round opening for
threading a cord. Rodd (p. 282) states that the latter are known
to the Tuareg as talhakim. The material used is red agate, white
soapstone, or turquois-blue glass. These ornaments are so prized
in the Sahara and Sudan that cheaper varieties made from red and
white porcelain or glass are manufactured in Germany for trade
purposes. The brass cross mentioned is described by Rodd as the
Agades Cross. The Hausa of Medowa in French Niger Territory
call the ornament couli.
As early as 500 B.C. Phoenician traders visited the northwest
coast of Africa where they went ashore and deposited articles manu-
factured at Carthage. Natives left gold dust in exchange for these
things, but in this silent trade no direct communication was made.
Mungo Park makes clear that washing for gold was a native industry
in the hilly country of Manding, far west Africa, in the year 1795.
He states (p. 285) that most of the blacksmiths were acquainted
with the method of smelting gold, in which process they used an
alkaline salt obtained from a lye of burnt maize-stalks. The black-
smiths drew the gold into fine wire from which ornaments were
fashioned with great taste and ingenuity. Gold was also used to
pay for salt.
The work of washing for alluvial gold was carried out by women
who carried spades for digging and calabashes for washing the soil.
The gold dust obtained was stored in quills. On the first day of
washing for gold a bullock was killed, while prayers were offered
and charms were used to ensure success, since failure to find gold
on the first day of digging was regarded as a bad omen (pp. 299-304).
With regard to working in silver there is definite and detailed
evidence respecting the technique of Nigerian silversmiths. The
most complete account of working in the precious metals is given
by J. W. Scott Macfie, who observed a silversmith of Bida working
at Zungeru. Although the Hausa follow this profession occasionally,
the Nupe are perhaps the most skillful.
The bellows used are of the goatskin bag type, having two wooden
slats at the wider end, and a wooden nozzle. This is the usual type
of bellows in northern Nigeria and Algeria, and in the region of Air
(Rodd, p. 299). The silversmith observed by Scott Macfie had a
knowledge of casting silver by the cire perdu (lost wax) process in
which a mold of clay with a core of rubber was used. This worker
436 Culture Areas of Nigeria
also made a gold ring from metal supplied by Scott Macfie. This
observation was made in the year 1912 before the scarcity of gold.
At the time of my visit (1930) I saw silversmiths of Bida making
silver sword-scabbards, small flat lockets for holding talismanic
verses, and silver rings. In Kano the Hausa smiths beat out French
five-franc pieces into thin sheets which were made into silver bowls.
Meek (I, vol. I, p. 156) describes the drawing out of silver wire
by Hausa smiths of Bauchi, who are then able to make slender
chains from the wire.
Silversmith's work is skillfully carried out in the Aures Mountains
of Algeria, where slender silver chains are made. Flat rectangular
boxes of silver ornamented with embossed designs are made for hold-
ing talismans. These boxes are the same in form and function as
those made at Bida. But the inlaying of silver with enamel, which
is a technique of the silversmiths in the Aures Mountains, has not
extended to Nigeria so far as my observation goes. As in Algeria,
the Nigerian silversmiths are able to make bracelets either from bars
or by beating the metal into thin sheets. The details of Algerian
work are given by Hilton-Simpson (Among the Hill-Folk of Algeria,
pp. 83-84), and Meakin (p. 201) mentions the decoration of scabbards
with silver. These writers give information which shows a close
similarity between the technique and products of silversmiths in
north Africa and Nigeria.
Of the antiquity of working in precious metals in Africa there
is no doubt. Petrie (p. 83) states that Asiatic gold was used in Egypt
in the first dynasty, though a probability exists that Nubia was the
first source from which the Egyptians obtained this metal. So
general was the use of gold for necklaces that a picture of a collar
of beads became the hieroglyph for gold. Gold was cast by the
lost-wax process in the twelfth dynasty.
The making of objects of silver in Egypt appears to be less ancient
than working in gold. From prehistoric sites in Egypt a spoon of
silver and the top of a jar have been obtained, but these are not
known to be of Egyptian workmanship. Silver came commonly
into use and manufacture in Egypt about the eighteenth dynasty.
Inlay work was made about 700 B.C. by beating lines of gold and
silver into copper (Petrie, pp. 96-103).
The antiquity of silver work in Africa, the known migrations
across the Sahara, and the similarity of silver objects made at the
present day in Algeria and Bida support the hypothesis that Nigeria
may be regarded as the terminus of a line of diffusion from Egypt,
along north Africa, across the Sahara, and into the Nigerian localities
where silver work is now extant. Rodd (pp. 229-231, 283) states
that the Agades blacksmith-jewelers melt down silver coins by
heating them in small clay crucibles; and although much silver is
lost by oxidation, the work is remarkably well finished considering
the primitive nature of the tools. Ornaments for saddles and
bracelets for women are two products of a Tuareg smith. This
evidence of silver-working in the Sahara is important for establishing
continuity in a supposed migration of the silversmith's craft.
In Sokoto, through northern Nigeria, and among the Buduma
of Lake Chad heavy metal bracelets and anklets are worn (Plate
XCVIII, Fig. 4). These are made from bars of brass and copper
which are purchasable from trader's stores. In the technique there
is a design which I believe to be no chance resemblance to forms
described by Rodd (p. 284). On bracelets made by Tuareg smiths
of Air (Asben) the knobs are accurate cubes with the eight corners
hammered flat, forming a figure having six square and eight tri-
angular facets. This description also applies to similar ornaments
from Sokoto and the country eastward as far as Lake Chad. The
use of a small iron punch is general for making either indented designs
or repousse" patterns on brass and silver ware at Bida and Kano.
The heaviest of all metal ornaments acquired were coils of brass
and copper wire used for decorating the arms and legs of Munshi
women at Katsina Ala (Plate CXXVI, Fig. 1).
Ivory-carving in Nigeria is not a common craft. From a Hausa
trader two neatly carved tusks were obtained; these, however, had
been brought from Cameroon. Each tusk was 50 cm. long, and
though possibly made for Europeans, the design of a serpent climbing
a tree to catch a bird is well executed and of undoubted African
workmanship. In former years large ivory anklets were worn by
women of Onitsha, but in 1930 I saw only one old woman with
decoration of this kind. From the Munshi some small ivory anklets
were obtained. These were old, and such ornaments are not com-
monly used at the present time. At Kano a Hausa man makes
ivory beads and cigarette holders on a lathe; but this is a modern
development in response to European stimulus.
The technique of ivory-working in Africa has been by no means
adequately described, and even in discussing the work of Benin
most writers have confined themselves to cataloguing the objects.
H. Lang (pp. 527-552) has described the ivory work of the
Mangbetu tribe in the northeast Congo region where ancient skill
438 Culture Areas of Nigeria
is now directed toward making spoons and cups of European form,
though the ability to carve human figurines is still extant. The
tools used are an adze and a sharp knife.
A description of working in ivory is given by E. W. Smith and
A. M. Dale (The Ila-speaking Peoples of Northern Rhodesia, vol. I,
pp. 180-182). The lathe and its parts are well described and illus-
trated and in addition to this an account of the making of ivory
bangles is given. The ceremonial side of the craft is not neglected.
The Ba-ila regard ivory-turning as being controlled by magic rather
than by skill; therefore the ivory worker has to wash his face in
certain decoctions to keep his eyes true, so that he may not run his
The foregoing details relating to industries establish a number
of facts and principles which will be of service in discussing the
culture areas of Nigeria in the final chapter. The most important
generalizations are as follows:
(1) There has been a diffusion of cultural factors from the north
of Africa across the Sahara to northern Nigeria, and in some in-
stances the traits have entered the Southern Provinces. The most
important of these traits are the vertical cotton loom; leather work,
including sandals; skin bottles; silver work; working in brass by
beating and casting; possibly coiled basketry; types of pottery,
especially lamps and water coolers; some forms of musical instru-
ments; satchel charms and some kinds of ornaments; and glass-
(2) Indigenous to the Southern Provinces are forms of wood-
carving which depend on the presence of forests and a religious
incentive for the making of masks, human effigies, decorated doors
for temples, and sacred drums. Absence of raw material, combined
with Mohammedan injunctions against certain forms of art, has
checked the northward spread of this trait. Ivory-carving was
fostered in the south of Nigeria because of the presence of elephants
and the incentive of religion. Bronze-casting throve because it
centered in powerful guilds attached to the royal compound, where
religious and social influences were strongly operative.
(3) From the north and east came cultures centering round camels
and horses. The latter were bred and used in warfare from Sokoto
to Bornu, with a resulting stimulus to the trades of the leather
worker and the blacksmith. The throwing-knife probably came
from the eastern Sudan. The detailed studies of this weapon
illustrate the probability of the transference of design from wood
to iron. The tendency for prototypes to throw off more specialized
forms, and the probability that each of these new forms will have
its characteristic area of distribution, are principles illustrated by
study of throwing-knives. The idea of making harpoons having
detachable heads, and the building of canoes of reeds, possibly
migrated from the Nile region across the Sudan.
(4) Beliefs associated with the blacksmith's craft are typical of
those found everywhere south of the Sahara. There are two principal
types of Nigerian bellows. One form is characteristic of northern
Africa and the Sahara, while the other is of a pattern widely dis-
tributed in the Congo region.
(5) Sequestered plateau and mountain regions preserve artifacts
that are probably representative of an older culture that was forced
into shelter by the pressure of intruders.
(6) There is a tendency for styles to develop locally, possibly as
a result of individual genius. This trend is particularly well illus-
trated by the details given with regard to decoration of gourds,
and the occurrence of carved wooden bowls in an area near Potiskum.
(7) Divisions of labor between the sexes exist. Thus there is
one type of loom worked by women and another by men. The divi-
sion is not necessarily based on any rational principle, for at Kano
men make all the clothing for women, neither is there an implication
of sex inferiority in these instances of specialization.
(8) European influences indicate that native craftsmen are
ingenious and adaptable in imitating new forms, also in grafting new
elements of technique and design on older patterns.
(9) An extended study along these lines would be a useful practical
approach to the establishment and management of schools. Such
centers exist at Bida, Benin, Maiduguri, and other places where
the innate skill of young pupils is encouraged. Native handicrafts
call forth admiration, and though there are advantages in teaching
European methods and designs, these should not be allowed to dis-
place what is indigenous. The ritual of religious belief, and social
customs connected with occupations should always be recognized as
necessary motivating forces.
The data so far discussed have included geographical, archaeo-
logical, and historical facts, to which have been added descriptions
relating to the technique and distribution of industries. In a final
chapter an effort is made to coordinate this information in such a
way as to present a picture of the cultural patterns of Nigerian life,
and to explain their probable origin and development.
V. TRIBES AND THEIR CULTURES
The main facts of geography, archaeology, and history have
been supplemented by a detailed account of Nigerian industries
and their distribution, but so far no attempt has been made to
coordinate these data. C. K. Meek has said, "When we come to
draw together the cultural threads with a view to arriving at definite
ethnological conclusions we are involved in a tangle of difficulties."
(I, vol. II, p. 160). At the outset this statement is discouraging
since it was expressed by an anthropologist of wide knowledge and
long experience in Nigeria; but the truth of it depends, I believe,
on the nature of the explanation demanded.
Some ethnological works describing Nigeria do not sufficiently
summarize the ethnological data. A student feels that he has reliable
information from ethnologists of long experience; but, on completion
of several tomes, there is a sense of being confused with factual
material. What does it all mean historically, geographically, and
Should an attempt be made to map out Nigeria into well-defined
areas of typical somatic traits, languages, and industries the result
would be artificial and inaccurate, for no system of boundary lines
could give a truthful indication of the overlapping that occurs.
There would be no more than a partial coincidence of areas demar-
cating physical types, languages, and customs. Yet, despite an
apparent confusion, it may be possible at least to make clear a
connection between the main facts of geography, history, and the
distribution of physical types, languages, and other cultural elements.
The problem of dividing Nigeria into culture areas by means of
lines definitely marking off divisions with distinctive characters is
impossible for the following reasons:
Before the period of historical records, which began in the
eighth century of the Christian era, there was a long and complicated
history that has determined physical types, languages, and cultures
as they are found today. In other words a time-depth scheme
exists, and this, if fully known, would explain the order in which the
somatic, linguistic, and cultural elements arrived.
In addition to the difficulty of disentangling cultural and physical
elements with a view to classifying them chronologically, there is
the effect of ecological factors to be considered with reference to
the present-day surface distribution of traits.
Tribes and Their Cultures 441
Cultural strata may in the first instance be laid with some uni-
formity. But later, there are changes comparable to the warpings
and intrusions with which a geologist has to deal. The distribution
of cultures in depth and surface area, resulting from the operation
of historical and geographical factors, may be illustrated as follows:
To represent the cultures of Nigeria diagrammatically the usual
linear diagram would have to be replaced by a series of colors, each
of which would represent a cultural pattern. Thus the artist might
select the color red to represent all the traits that are characteristic
of Negro culture, and this tint he would lay over the whole of the
Northern and Southern Provinces. A blue color might then be
chosen to represent the elements of Mohammedan culture. This
pigment would have to be thickly laid over the Northern Provinces,
but in such a way that streaks of the blue ran into the red coloration
of the Southern Provinces. In the Northern Provinces the predomi-
nating color would be blue (Mohammedan) with here and there
patches of red (Negro culture) showing plainly through the blue.
If the colors were laid on while wet, the streaking at the junction
of the pigments would represent an irregular margin of cultures
where there is an exchange of cultural elements. To represent a
blending of cultures correctly there should be here and there purple
patches indicating that red and blue have so mixed that the patch
cannot be said to represent one culture or the other, but an inex-
tricable mingling of the two.
At least one other color would have to be used to show those
indeterminable cultural elements that have affected the Jukun,
the Yoruba, and the Nupe. This is necessary, because, in addition
to elements of Negro and Mohammedan culture, there are traits
that some ethnologists ascribe to a Hamitic intrusion from the Nile
Valley, across the provinces of Kordofan and Darfur, through Bornu,
and into the areas occupied by the tribes mentioned.
Such an inartistic map, with its blotches, streaks, and minglings,
in which one color or another might predominate, would be a diagram
more correct than one in which lines were used to delineate culture
The foregoing paragraphs indicate that the following points,
which have already been briefly mentioned, have to be considered
more fully in attempting to explain the cultures of Nigeria:
(1) The physical features of the tribes which have entered
(2) The languages of the immigrants.
442 Culture Areas of Nigeria
(3) The type of culture brought by each arrival.
(4) The chronological order of entry.
(5) Historical and geographical factors that have affected the
distribution of cultures. These determinants are comparable to
forces of nature which distort and redistribute the original strati-
fication of the earth's crust. To continue the analogy, there are
in cultural history human controls and physical forces working
incessantly to disturb both the depth and the surface distribution
of what were at one time distinctive cultural strata.
Reference to Plates CXVII-CXLI will show that there are
many physical types in Nigeria. These differ with regard to pig-
mentation of the skin, stature, sturdiness of build, shape of face,
hair, thickness of lips, eversion of lips, and nasal width. Physical
measurements do not exist in sufficient quantity to allow a statistical
comparison of all the physical types, but general observation and
photography clearly indicate that the somatic characters involved
are not the result of local environmental influences. The differences
of the traits mentioned are too great to be explained by reference to
local disparities of temperature, elevation of the land, humidity,
and food, within Nigeria itself.
It is true that physical anthropology does not at present profess
to determine the extent to which environment can generate and
change somatic character, neither are physical anthropologists agreed
with regard to the characters which are the best criteria of a race,
though certain entrenched features of the Negro are recognized.
No satisfactory definition of a "race" has been formed, and the
causes that have led to differentiation of even the main somatic
divisions of mankind are a disputed biological problem. The
mechanism of heredity as applied to human beings is imperfectly
understood because of lack of controlled experiment and paucity of
research along lines of descent in families. Furthermore, the
variability of somatic characters as a result of miscegenation still
offers a wide field of investigation.
Despite these deficiencies of knowledge there is the possibility
of having a clear concept of the physical traits which are implied
by the use of the word Negro. If one thinks of the Kru of Liberia,
or the Ibo of Nigeria there come to mind such characteristics as a
thick heavy build with a well-developed torso, a medium stature,
prominent heels, curved shin bones, prognathic jaws, a rounded
Tribes and Their Cultures 443
face with considerable bizygomatic breadth, a broad nose, and thick
everted lips; also woolly hair. A difference of opinion exists with
regard to the continent in which the Negro originated, and the
rival claims of Africa and Asia have been advanced. But such a
question, leading as it does to hypotheses respecting the primary
origin and dispersal of man, or even to the possibility of polygenesis,
is too speculative and theoretical to account for the present dis-
tribution of physical traits of Nigerian tribes.
Everywhere along the expeditionary route evidence of Negro
traits was apparent, but at no place do all the traits appear; neither
do they show the same degree of development in any two areas, or
among any two tribes. When among Hausa-speaking peoples of
northern Nigeria one might observe in certain individuals a strong
development of traits that are associated with the word Negro,
but on the contrary one would repeatedly admit that in other Hausa-
speaking people Negro traits were strongly overlaid (Plate CXXXIII,
The reason for this admission would be a tall stature, a slimness
of build, and a refinement of lips and nose. The same observation
of overlaid Negro traits would be made with regard to some
Shuwa Arabs, Keri-Keri, Bolewa, Jukun, Kanuri, and Fulani. For
example, the Fulani chiefs who presided at the whipping contest
(Plate CXXXV, Fig. 1) had a light brown skin, a tall slim build,
a narrow hawk-like nose, and an oval face. Fulani girls (Plates
CXXXV, Fig. 2; CXXXVI, Fig. 2) have a physique in which Negro
characters are deeply overlaid by somatic traits of a kind differing
in noticeable degree from those of the typical Negro. The hair
of these girls was long and slightly wavy, and the woolly character
of Negro hair was absent.
In contrast with these northern tribes, who show a modification
of typical Negro physique, should be mentioned the southern forest
tribes who are predominatingly of Negro pattern. Such tribes are
the Ibo, Yoruba, Egba, Jekri, Bini, and Sobo. But the Nupe
show a modification of Negro traits in the direction of increased
height, more slender build, and a refined physiognomy. The Nupe
of Bida are, geographically, intermediate between northern and
southern Nigeria, and this fact has had its anatomical results.
The general impression left by the journey is the prevalence of
Negro somatic traits south of the line 9° N. Lat., and the predomi-
nance of modifying physical characters to the north of that line.
The farther one proceeds to the north of 9° N. Lat. the more strongly
444 Culture Areas of Nigeria
are Negro features overlaid, until at Tahoua on the border of the
Sahara Desert, the general type should be definitely described as a
Such observation raises the question of the origin and nature of
this non-Negro type, in connection with which the mention of the
words Hamitic and Semitic leads to controversial opinions. In
chapter II (Archaeology) it was necessary to admit that the relation-
ship of stone-building and stone-using peoples to the present popula-
tion of west Africa is undetermined. One might go further and say
that in the present state of archaeology, including examination of
human osteological remains, the ethnologist has a very imperfect
reconstruction of the history of African peoples. Osteological evidence
is too meagre to demonstrate the degree of generic relationship be-
tween people past and present. Neither do historical facts serve
the inquiry until the written records of the eighth century give
information concerning the intrusion of Semitic and Hamitic tribes
into northern Nigeria.
Therefore, in order to account for the overlay of Negro somatic
traits, an investigator is forced into a realm of hypothesis, and in
particular he is concerned with the postulated intrusion of Hamites
into east Africa. The use of the word Hamite is not consistent with
all writers, though there is a preponderance of belief in a remote
linguistic and probably a physical union of Hamites and Semites.
Despite the views of G. Sergi and G. A. Barton that Hamites
originated in Africa, the general opinion of ethnologists relegates the
original home of the Hamites to southwest Asia. From such a center
they are thought to have spread along the north and down the east
of Africa in many successive waves, from a period at least as early
as 10,000 B.C. until recent centuries, though admittedly dates are
mere guesswork (C. G. Seligman, I, pp. 593-705).
The word Hamite has three distinct connotations. The chief
characteristics of Hamitic speech are well defined because they are
distinctly different from the structural foundations of the isolating
Sudanic languages, the click language of Bushmen, and the
grammatical forms of Bantu. The physical characters of the Hamites
are usually said to be a slim build and fairly tall stature, a skin color
varying from light brown to very dark shades, a refinement of lips
and nose as compared with those features in the Negro, the absence
of everted lips, and a texture of hair that is not negroid. The cultural
import of the word Hamite varies, but a usual connotation would
include pastoral pursuits, a distaste for manual labor, and an avoid-
Tribes and Their Cultures 445
ance of agriculture and vegetable foods. Hamites created warlike
organizations which imposed their social structure, their language,
and, where possible, their pastoral culture, on a Negro people.
The debatable nature of Hamitic culture is illustrated by refer-
ence to the divergent views of C. G. Seligman and of E. Torday. In
"Races of Africa" (p. 156) Seligman says, "We may believe that the
Negro who is now an excellent iron worker learnt this art from
the Hamite." On the contrary, E. Torday doubts whether typically
pastoral Hamites, who show an aversion to handicraft and manual
labor generally, could contribute such a factor as iron-working.
Torday, I think rightly, believes in a self-evolved Negro culture
whose strongest facet is an aptitude for arts and crafts. In a cultural
sense, so Torday says, the Hamitic hypothesis can be dispensed
with so far as Negro artifacts are concerned (Herbert Spencer,
Descriptive Sociology of African Races, London, 1930, Preface, iii).
Yet, despite different points of view, the connotation of the word
Hamite, as generally accepted, has a value in explaining the modi-
fication of Negro physique, language, and cultural habits.
A consensus of opinion favors the theory that the intruding
Hamites formed an aristocracy that displaced a large Negro popula-
tion in northeast Africa, with the result that Negroes moved west-
ward along the northern edge of the forest belt, also southwestward
across the Congo basin. There is, however, the probability that
Negroes inhabited all Africa south of the Sahara before the entry
of Hamites, and the evidence does not make certain that southern
Nigeria first received a Negro population because intrusive Hamites
forced Negro tribes westward. Nevertheless, Hamitic pressure, and
later a series of impacts from Semites, have pressed the Negro
population of Nigeria southward until the most typical Negroes, the
Ijaw, are to be found on both sides of the Niger Delta. Such
hypotheses, though controversial, have the advantage of giving a
working basis which explains some of the facts of linguistic, somato-
logical, and cultural distribution in Nigeria.
Long before the well-known Arab invasions of the seventh and
eleventh centuries, there came, probably from north Arabia, many
waves of Semites into the Nile Valley and along northern Africa.
For an unknown period Semitic blood, language, and customs have
diffused into northern Nigeria from across the Sahara, also along the
line from Lake Chad to the Nile Valley.
The details of these Semitic and Berber invasions through trade
and warfare have been detailed in chapter III (History and Explora-
446 Culture Areas of Nigeria
tion). The new arrivals were dominant in warfare, and the general
tendency was to press the Negroes and Hamiticized Negroes into the
forest belts of the south, while many tribes of strong Negro affinities
took refuge in the plateau region that stretches across Nigeria from
Yola, through Bauchi, Nassarawa, and Zaria.
When endeavoring to understand the physical foundation of
Nigerian tribes the most helpful hypothesis is the one outlined. This
assumes a possibly indigenous Negro population having certain
definite somatic characters of the Negro which have been modified
in such a way that a large number of physical types has been
produced. These types differ in skin color, build, stature, shape of
face, prognathism, nasal breadth, and thickness and eversion of the
lips. The people whose physique effected these changes to varying
degrees in different parts of Nigeria are conveniently known as
Hamites. Semitic (Arab) intrusions have further tended to efface
the typical characteristics of both Negroes and Hamites.
The Semitic (Arab) type has influenced somatic traits in the
direction of light brown skin color, narrow oval face, thin lips, an
aquiline nose, and straight hair. The cultural contributions of Arabs
to Negro tribes have been more pronounced than the effects of racial
miscegenation between Arabs and Negroes, but use of Negro slaves
by Arabs has tended in some parts of north and west Africa to create
a mixed population.
Instances in which physical types are definitely associated with
well-defined languages have to be recognized. The I jaw are a Negro
people in a physical sense and they speak a Negro tongue. The
Shuwa Arabs are of Semitic appearance with an obvious infusion
of Negro blood, probably from slaves; yet among the Shuwa there
is a definitely recognizable association of somatic traits of Arabs
with a Semitic language. The Hausa-speaking people of northern
Nigeria have the physique of Negroes modified by those characters
which are generally accepted as Hamitic, while their speech is
fundamentally Hamitic, with added elements of Sudanic (Negro)
and Semitic languages.
These facts illustrate the general truth, that although phys-
ique and languages show some degree of local association it would
not be possible to prepare two maps, one linguistic and the other
somatological, in such a way that the divisions coincided when the
maps were superimposed. A third map purporting to give the
Tribes and Their Cultures 447
distribution of associated cultural traits would make only an
indifferent fit with the maps indicating distribution of languages
and physical types.
In view of the statement that a language may be classified in
one group or another according to the facet under examination, like-
wise in consideration of the number of unstudied dialects, maps
showing quite different distributions of Hamitic, Semitic, and
Sudanic (Negro) languages could be prepared. Meek and Talbot
both recognize this, but nevertheless point out that a serviceable
method of plotting linguistic distributions exists on the basis of main
structural differences between Hamitic, Bantu, Sudanic, and Semitic
tongues. Fundamental differences that are useful in making these
broad divisions of linguistic families have been summarized by
A. Werner, who quotes C. Meinhof, D. Westermann, M. Delafosse,
and other linguists (Language Families of Africa, London, 1925,
pp. 20-23; Structure and Relationship of African Languages,
There are two main linguistic divisions of Negroes; namely,
Sudanic-speaking and Bantu-speaking. The former group has iso-
lating languages depending for meaning on the position of words
in the sentence, and the use of high, middle, and low tones. The
latter has languages whose structural unity is shown by the allitera-
tive concord, classes of nouns with prefixes, the position of the
genitive, and other points of a fundamental kind. The Bantu
languages have semantic tones, but these do not influence the
meanings of words to the same extent as in Sudanic languages.
Differences between the physique of Sudanic and Bantu Negroes
exist. The differences have sometimes been accounted for by stating
that the Bantu-speaking Negro was produced by physical admixture
with Hamites. But the main cultural elements of Negroes show impres-
sive similarities despite the two main linguistic divisions (Bantu
and Sudanic) and the physical differences that accompany them.
Such discussion leads to the recognition of the following linguistic
divisions in Nigeria: Sudanic, Bantu, Semi-Bantu, Hamitic, and
Semitic, each of which rests on basic structural characters. These,
however, become merged, as do also vocabularies, so leading, as
Meek says, to a linguistic confusion without parallel. Yet despite
the confusion there is a general truth worth noting. If Hausa is
classed as Hamitic, and many linguists would agree to this, the main
languages north of 9° N. Lat. are firstly Hamitic and Semitic tongues
supplemented by isolating Sudanic Negro languages. To the south
448 Culture Areas of Nigeria
of this division there is a predominance of Sudanic languages which
extend from the west to the east, where they merge into Semi-
Bantu and Bantu at the border between Nigeria and Cameroon.
There is, however, only a general correspondence between the
distribution of physical types and languages. With regard to each
of these factors the dividing line is approximately 9° N. Lat. To
the north of this there is a prevalence of non-Negro physique com-
bined with a paramount importance of Hamitic and Semitic elements
of speech. These are associated with intrusive Hamites and Semites,
who possessed those physical traits that have modified the somatic
characters of the true Negro. To the south of the ninth parallel
Negro languages (Sudanic, Semi-Bantu, and Bantu) are of primary
importance, and these are associated with a prevalent Negro physique.
These preliminary observations relating to types of physique
and linguistic families lead to a dissection of cultural elements in
the hope of associating these traits in a definite way with linguistic
and somatological divisions. From the observations made respecting
linguistic areas and those in which a type of physique predominates,
it will be surmised that cultural diffusion has been extensive and
that conclusions will be of a general kind. Yet the plotting of cultural
areas, apart from language and physique, is favored by the fact that
there are in Nigeria potent geographical determinants which tend
to create patterns of culture according to rainfall, temperature,
elevation of the land, and the resulting types of flora and fauna.
This truth could be expressed in a more general way by saying
that cultural traits, which are primarily laid in a stratification
corresponding with the time of their arrival or invention, are re-
arranged by geographical determinants. Consequently, a time-depth
scheme of cultural elements tends to give place to a surface arrange-
ment of the traits, because these are segregated and controlled by
the geographical conditions mentioned in chapter I.
This physical check on the geographical distribution of tangible
cultural traits, of which camel-rearing and horse-breeding are
examples, contrasts sharply with the mobility of physical and
linguistic traits. When one considers the extent and duration of
warfare in Nigeria, with its concomitants of slavery and the transport
of large numbers of slaves from one area to another, the wide mingling
of physical traits is understandable; so also is the mixing of mobile
In contrast with the ready mingling of languages and somatic
traits there is the helpful fact that geographical conditions have
Tribes and Their Cultures 449
placed a check on diffusion of many important cultural elements.
Consequently, it is possible to make a spatial grouping of these into
cultural patterns that depend primarily on geographical conditions.
When describing the somatic traits and languages of Nigerian
tribes, attention was called to the importance of Negro characteristics
of a physical kind, while the wide distribution of Negro languages,
especially Sudanic, was also noted.
As a concomitant of these physical and linguistic traits of the
Negro there is a type of culture which is fundamental to the whole
of Nigeria, though the Negro elements are more deeply entrenched
south of the line 9° N. Lat. than to the north of that parallel. The
forest culture of Sudanic-speaking Negroes is in close correspondence
with the culture of Bantu-speaking Negroes, who occupy the greater
part of the Congo basin and Cameroon. In fact, if due allowance is
made for special localizations of culture, there is predominating uni-
formity in the pattern of forest Negro culture from far west Africa
through Liberia, the Ivory Coast, Ashanti, Dahomey, Nigeria,
Cameroon, the Congo basin, and into the land occupied by the
Ovimbundu of Angola.
In stating that the following elements are characteristic of
southern Nigeria, and that the welding of these forms a pattern of
Negro culture which is typical for a large area, it is recognized that
not all the elements are to be found together in every part of the area
In one area, or tribe, some features of Negro culture are
emphasized, while others are obsolete or are overlaid and disguised
by other elements. Yet the Negro factors mentioned in the following
paragraphs are associated with sufficient frequency to give a clear
general impression of a Negro culture which is basic throughout
Nigeria. The question of traits that have intruded into the Negro
culture of Nigeria is not considered here; therefore the list of traits
is confined to those which are probably original and basic charac-
teristics of Negro culture. The elements may be classified as reli-
gious, social, and industrial, though such divisions are not mutually
exclusive because an element of religion enters into every depart-
ment of the social and industrial life. But, so far as it is possible to
separate the industrial traits, they are as follows for Negro culture:
(1) Skill in iron work, which is surrounded with ritual. The
sacred grove of the patron god Ogun at Ife is but one instance of
450 Culture Areas of Nigeria
the ideas which everywhere among Negroes surround the blacksmith's
craft. The details have been given in chapter IV (Industries).
(2) Wood-carving, which finds its best expression in the making
of wooden masks, human figures, stools, door posts, carved staffs
of office, wooden combs, and many other objects. There are in
Negro tribes many centers of wood-carving, each having a distinc-
tive style of art. Thus stools of the Ivory Coast, Ashanti, Bida
in Nigeria, and Bamenda in Cameroon are readily distinguishable.
(3) Ivory-carving is skillfully done by Negroes, and at Benin the
finest carved tusks of Africa have been produced.
(4) According to Ling Roth (Studies in Primitive Looms) the
vertical mat loom may be indigenous to Negro culture in the center
of Africa. The other looms used in Nigeria are possibly non-Negro
in origin, yet long association with Negroes makes these looms a
typical part of Negro culture.
(5) Elaborate carving of calabashes is a highly specialized art
among Negroes. The origin is unknown, but the craft with its
many local styles is thoroughly characteristic of Negro culture.
(6) Making bark cloth is a typical Negro industry.
(7) Raffia work of all kinds is used in the making of mats, clothing,
(8) The origin of coiled basketry is unknown, but examples in
the Egyptological collection of Field Museum are dated 2000 B.C.
It is possible that coiled basketry originated among Negroes and
spread into Egypt, or the reverse may be true. But the construction
and sewing of the coils suggests diffusion rather than independent
(9) Making of pottery by the coiling and punching of clay is
an art which finds expression among all Negroes, though the origin
of the processes is unknown.
(10) Hoe cultivation by women is basic in Negro society, though
of course there are many types of hoes in use, and the part played
by males in agriculture varies locally. In forest clearings extensive
cultivation of root crops and maize is practiced. The latter becomes
the main crop in country where the forest gives place to open regions,
as in central Angola and on the plateau of Northern Rhodesia.
Maize, yams, peanuts, manioc, and sweet potatoes are the principal
crops of Negro agriculturalists. In southern Nigeria yam festivals
and the worship of the yam spirit are traits which are not common to
the whole of the Negro area under discussion. But some kind of
Tribes and Their Cultures 451
ceremony in connection with sowing, reaping, and offering the first
fruits to ancestors is usual in Negro tribes. In the economic life
of Negroes the oil palm, the raffia palm, and the wine palm are
essential to several staple occupations.
(11) Animal husbandry is not a typical Negro trait, though
Negroes in contact with pastoral tribes keep cattle when conditions
permit. Avoidance of milk as food is a Negro trait, yet some Negro
tribes use the milk of cattle and goats.
(12) Fishing by means of nets, spears, poisons, conical basket-
traps, and weirs is a widely distributed Negro industry. Bows
and arrows, blunt wooden bird-arrows, spears, shields, making fire
by twirling, and the use of the long dugout canoe, are cultural traits
found generally among forest Negroes.
All the foregoing cultural elements are characteristic of Negro life
in southern Nigeria, which is but a geographical and cultural sample
of the more extensive African area occupied by Negroes.
Negro architecture is confined to the building of huts of various
types in which wattle walls plastered with mud are general. The
roof is a thick thatch of grass, though leaves of palms and banana
trees may be used. The shapes may be round, square, or rectangular,
but wherever Negroes are known to build houses of clay with flat
roofs an intrusive culture is certain.
So far as handicrafts are concerned the Negro is inclined to form
himself into craft guilds, some of which center in the king's compound.
The relationship between handicraft, religious beliefs, and ritual is
best understood by reading Rattray's "Religion and Art in Ashanti,"
but everywhere among Negroes there is association of this kind to
varying degree. The importance of division of labor on a sex basis
has to be recognized, though the tasks thought to be appropriate
for men and women respectively vary with locality.
Everywhere in Negro society social life has certain fundamental
elements, among which definite types of musical instruments, songs,
and dances are prominent; and despite diversity there is appreciable
Almost everywhere among Negroes there flourish secret societies
which exist for various purposes such as initiation of boys into the
tribe; this is, however, only one aspect of the secret society. Initia-
tion rites include seclusion, harsh treatment, circumcision of boys
and frequently some corresponding operation for girls, use of masks
and netted costumes, painting of the body, instruction, change of
name, and ceremonial re-introduction to society with adult status.
452 Culture Areas of Nigeria
From Sierra Leone to Cameroon a special form of secret society
is one which constitutes a powerful political, legal, and economic
unit. There are societies of this kind for men and others for women,
who have special privileges according to the number of grades through
which they have been initiated. Progress through various degrees
may last a lifetime, and such advance is almost invariably accom-
panied by payment of fees to the society. The legal functions of
such groups as the Leopard and Crocodile societies of Sierra Leone,
and the Ogboni league of the Yoruba, have formed social controls,
which, though despotic, have played a necessary part at the cultural
levels in which they function.
Associated with such societies are age grades, a term which has
been somewhat vaguely used to cover gradings in Africa, Melanesia,
and among North American Indians. These gradings have, however,
been shown to rest on concepts that are radically different (R. H.
Lowie, Plains Indian Age-Societies, Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., Anthro-
pological Papers, No. II, pp. 883-951).
Lowie's research emphasizes the need for caution in using the
term "age grade." Possibly the age grades of Nigerian Negroes
may prove to be structurally and functionally different from those
in other parts of Africa. Age grades among the Hamitic Galla and
Masai are formed on a basis of contemporary circumcision, and at
intervals of seven years government of the country is handed over
to a new grade. These points constitute important differences
between true Hamitic age grades and division according to age in
some societies of west Africa, where passage from one grade to
another depends as much on payment as on seniority.
In the social life of Negro tribes the classificatory system of
relationship with cross-cousin marriage is a dominant feature. In
some regions the system is not well defined, and there is evidence of
its decline in the use of one term for a large number of relatives who
used to be classed in small groups, each of which was distinguished
by a special name. But in other regions the classificatory system
is extant and vigorous, as among the Ovimbundu of Angola, among
whom no difficulty was experienced in collecting the class names
of grouped relatives.
Reckoning of descent through females is typical of the Negro
social system, in which laws of succession and inheritance often
function through the maternal uncle. This relative is responsible for
his sister's children, even to the extent of paying their fines and debts,
while he may go so far as to sell his sister's children or put them to
Tribes and Their Cultures 453
work in order to meet his own liabilities. Family life among Negroes
has therefore a definite pattern in which the authority of a father
is subordinate to that of a maternal uncle.
Warfare and its concomitant of slavery are institutions of Negro
tribes. The former shows power of military organization as in
Ashanti, Dahomey, among the Yoruba, in the old Kingdom of Kongo,
and later in Lunda. But the Negro, with the exception of the Zulu,
has not developed such a thorough, permanent, and detailed military
system as that which is typical of the Hamitic Masai.
Everywhere among Negroes slavery has important domestic,
economic, and social influences. Domestic slaves, that is, those
who are pawned to redeem debts, are more favorably treated than
those who are captured in war. But generally speaking, slaves in
Negro society work with and not merely for their masters. The
position of such slaves differs from that of Negroes captured by
Arabs and taken away for sale to Morocco and Tripoli, where they
dwell among another race to whom they are servile. In Negro
society slaves were of ritual importance because they were sacrificed
and eaten on such occasions as the death of a king and the accession
of a new ruler. There is no part of Negro Africa where the ceremonial
slaughter of slaves has been more prevalent than in Ashanti,
Dahomey, and Benin.
Blood brotherhood by the mingling of blood from the bodies of
those who make a covenant is a typically Negro custom with local
variations. Among the Yoruba, for example, a kola nut may be
smeared with the blood of the contracting parties, who then eat it.
The blood compact by drinking milk and blood is of importance
among pastoral tribes of east and northeast Africa. Robertson
Smith (Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, Cambridge, 1885,
pp. 47-49) comes to the conclusion that among early Semites an
exchange of blood from the bodies of those who made an alliance
was effected by drinking or tasting. The origin of blood exchange
as now practiced among Negroes is unknown, though it may have
been Semitic; but whatever the origin of the trait may have been,
the custom can be added to those traits which are now characteristic
of Negro culture.
Negroes display an aptitude for building up political organizations
that differ from mere military systems. It is true, however, that
political power of Negro states has rested on military strength with
consequent warfare and disruption. This may be proved by following
the history of Ashanti, Dahomey, the Yoruba of Nigeria, and the
454 Culture Areas of Nigeria
kingdoms of Kongo and Lunda. Yet, despite the union between
political power and militarism in Negro kingdoms, the Negro concept
of a kingdom is something essentially different from the formation of
a simple military aristocracy which lacks religious sanction and
elaborate court ritual.
Negro kingdoms secure strength and cohesion through a religious
organization. The kings of the Ashanti, the Dahomeans, and the
Bini were the repositories of the soul of the nation, therefore
prosperity of the land was closely bound up with the health, youth,
and vigor of the king. This is as true of the kings of far west Africa
as it was of rulers in Uganda and among the Nilotic Shilluk. To
these regions the custom of strangling a decrepit king was com-
mon, and it was not unusual for the king to be asked to take his
own life. During life the king's person was sacred. There are
examples, notably from Benin, of the king having to remain inside
his own compound which he might not leave except at night and
in disguise. In some localities the king had to be carried so that
his feet might not touch the ground.
The importance of women of the king's household may be seen
from Rattray's "Ashanti," and "Religion and Art in Ashanti."
The same is true of the Yoruba, among whom, notably at Oyo, there
exist the king's court and the queen's court. Meek (I, vol. I,
p. 256) calls attention to the importance of females in the royal
household of the Jukun. The two most important women are the
Atsukaka and the Ashumotsi. The former is one of the late chief's
sisters in the classificatory sense, and her power is partly due to her
supposed control of rain. Ashumotsi is the favorite wife of the
deceased chief; she is the reigning chief's official mother and is
consulted by the king on all important official matters. These two
women mutually control the election of the chief's successor.
The importance of a Negro king is even greater after death than
during his life. Among many Negro tribes the king's death is not
announced during a period which varies from a few days to several
months. There are means of drying and preserving the body, and
parts of a corpse may be disinterred, decorated, and reburied, or
possibly preserved in a sacred hut. Houses for stools of deceased
chiefs of Ashanti are important, and on anniversary days the stools
are anointed with blood from sacrificed goats. The preservation
of parts of a king's body together with objects with which he was
associated is a basic Negro custom. The Ovimbundu sew a king's
head in oxhide and preserve it in a box. In times of drought, or
Tribes and Their Cultures 455
when setting out on a caravan journey, the head is taken from
the box in the presence of the reigning king, for whom a medicine-
man acts as priest. The head is questioned, sacrifice is made, and
a new oxhide wrapping and box may be given. Such attentions
after death are due to a belief that the prosperity of the kingdom
is bound up with the spirit of the king, just as in his lifetime the
welfare of the community depended on his vigor, personal safety,
and the sanctity of his person.
This sanctity of the king and killing of decrepit kings in order
to preserve the prosperity of the country may be Egyptian in its
origin. Seligman (I) classes divinity of kings, rain makers, and
killing of kings, with Hamitic traits. But whatever the truth of
that may be, the point of greatest importance here is that a well-
established kingship of great political power, backed by strong
religious sanction and supported by ancestral cults, is now typical
of Negro kingdoms. In this aggregate of traits surrounding kingship
southern Nigeria has fully shared.
The strongest beliefs of a religious kind among Negroes are those
relating to the spirits of ancestors and their power for working good
or evil among the living. Ideas of a Supreme Being tend to be
vague among Bantu Negroes; thus the Nzambi of the Congo region
and the Suku of the Ovimbundu are powerful creators, but they are
so far removed from contact with men that sacrifices to them are
not usual. The god issues no commands and does not appear to
be interested in the conduct of man, neither does the Supreme Being
punish or reward men according to their conduct on earth.
On the contrary the spirits of ancestors are active in their interest.
Some of them are jealous and easily offended by absence of sacrifice;
they are therefore consulted by a medicine-man who induces them
temporarily to enter a wooden figure whose body is filled with a
concoction. The Ovimbundu have spirits who are classified into
two main divisions, the olosande or good spirits, and the olondele
or bad spirits. Spiritual life is concerned with the activities of these
spirits, whose operations are known to the medicine-man. He
makes his contacts by use of wooden images, a divination basket,
and dances in which a small ax is carried. The Ovimbundu use
the word utima (heart) for soul, and the western Bantu are shown
by Torday to believe in a dual soul (Dualism in Western Bantu
Religion and Social Organization, J.R.A.I., LVIII, pp. 225-245).
H. Junod makes clear that the Bathonga have a multitude of ancestral
spirits who are divided in their interest in the living. Thus there
456 Culture Areas of Nigeria
are spirits who are concerned chiefly with the family, others are
approached on tribal matters, and some are concerned chiefly with
warfare. But the Supreme Being is not important or actively
interested in the tribe (Life of a South African Tribe, Neuchatel,
1912, vol. II, pp. 346-385).
These data relating to ideas of a supreme being, the existence
of a soul or souls, and the importance of ancestral spirits, are typical
of Bantu Negro and Sudanic Negro religion. But in southern Nigeria,
especially among the Yoruba, exist theistic beliefs which cannot
be regarded as having a general distribution among Negroes. A
considerable part of the following statements, which are made in
reference to the Yoruban deism and polytheistic beliefs, apply also
to Dahomey and Ashanti.
In southern Nigeria, likewise in Ashanti, prevail definite concepts
of a sky god and an earth mother. Such deities are named; more-
over, they are active and therefore demand sacrifice and consultation.
In this respect they are unlike the Nzambi, Suku, and Kalunga of
the Congo and Angola. When one stands in the Temple of the
God of Thunder at Ibadan (Plate CLVIII) or consults Johnson's
"History of the Yorubas," it is evident that there is a Nigerian
theistic element which cannot be said to form a general trait of
Among the Yoruba there is a rich mythology which is combined
in a subtle and inextricable way with known facts of Yoruban history
and theistic beliefs. This complexity of religious beliefs may be no
more than a special local development among tribes of southern
Nigeria, Dahomey, and Ashanti, yet an intrusive element of
systematic polytheism, possibly from Egypt, is not unlikely. But
it would be safer merely to say that in southern Nigeria, and
particularly among the Yoruba, there exist theistic beliefs which are
not typical of Negro religion. Meek (III, chapter III) definitely
attributes certain aspects of Jukun religion to Egyptian influence.
But perhaps the word Hamitic, rather than Egyptian, is preferable
because of its broader connotation.
The following elements are typical of the spiritual beliefs of
southern Nigeria, and to a great extent they may justly be said
to form a general background of Negro religion.
Sacred groves, pools, and creeks having guardian animals are
widespread. A grove may contain a variety of objects such as
stones, living serpents, small houses sheltering clay figures, possibly
also masks and costumes. Such groves have a wide distribution
Tribes and Their Cultures 457
among Sudanic and Bantu Negroes. The sacred grove is readily
traced from Sierra Leone, through Liberia into Ashanti, and along
southern Nigeria into Cameroon. There are many sacred groves
in the region to the north of the Congo estuary, and they are common
in Uganda. The use of sacred groves is a basic trait of Negro
spiritual life, so also is the employment of shrines; that is, places
which form temporary abodes of spirits who require sacrifices to be
made in an appointed spot. A small hut, which shelters clay figures
of animals and human beings to whom cowries and other offerings
have been made, is one of the commonest elements of Negro religion
in southern Nigeria and elsewhere. The bull-roarer is still in use,
and in many places it is regarded as a sacred accessory of religious
rites among Negroes.
Python worship reached its highest development in southern
Nigeria and Dahomey, where the beliefs and rituals associated with
pythons kept in huts in charge of priests and priestesses, constituted
the most elaborate system of serpent worship in Africa. A similar
series of beliefs and practices is reported by J. Roscoe from Uganda
(Python Worship in Uganda, Man, 1909, No. 57). Research into
African serpent worship, cults, and beliefs does not suggest that
such aspects of religion can truly be regarded as generally character-
istic of Negro religion. But in Nigeria, Dahomey, and Uganda one
probably sees the remnant of a phase of religion which was formerly
more common than it is today. The whole evidence relating to
ophiolatry in Africa shows that beliefs in the magical power of snakes
as guardians of sacred places, as reincarnated spirits, and as
announcers of conception, is a widespread trait of Negro life which
has extended to and survived to the present day among non-Negro
tribes of northern Nigeria (No. 1, this volume, 1931).
Among Negroes of southern Nigeria beliefs often described as
animistic are common. Many tribes revere genii of the rocks, trees,
and streams, all of which require placation by sacrifice. There is
no part of African territory occupied by Negroes which shows a
more intense development of this aspect of religion. But some
Negroes have entirely lost these animistic beliefs. For example,
among the Ovimbundu, who are Bantu Negroes, I could find no
trace of animism.
If totemism is regarded as being a sentimental bond between
man and some plant or animal, one may say that totemic beliefs
are typical of the religious ideas of Negroes in southern Nigeria.
Together with these beliefs in a mystic alliance between a man and
458 Culture Areas of Nigeria
his familiar animal, there exist many ideas concerning reincarnation
and transformation. Such concepts occur sporadically among
Negroes in all parts of Africa, and evidences of totemic clans are
Possibly serpent worship, animistic beliefs, and totemic concepts
formed a primary series of allied beliefs which constituted early
Negro religion. Whatever may be the truth of this suggestion, it
is certain that such beliefs are still strongly entrenched among typical
Negroes of west Africa.
One aspect of religious thought that is more prominent with
Negroes of west Africa than among Bantu Negroes is the erection
of stones representing the phallus; also the employment of eggs in
sacrifice. In southern Nigeria are groves containing egg-shaped
stones, while the breaking of eggs against sacred stones and trees
is a common rite often mentioned by Rattray (IV, passim). This
tendency to emphasize traits relating to fertility may, in my opinion,
be added to python worship, totemism, animistic beliefs, and well-
defined ideas of reincarnation, all of which are perhaps more
pronounced among Sudanic than Bantu Negroes, though this
generalization would require careful testing.
The medicine-man and his practices form a common element of
Negro religion. Everywhere in Negro society the medicine-man is
a medium for approaching a world of ancestral spirits. Most fre-
quently this is accomplished by the use of human figures of wood,
or other objects which may become temporary shrines of spirits,
who can then be consulted. Other important functions of the
medicine-man are rain-making, divination, and the conducting of
trial by ordeal. In addition to these duties the legitimate medicine-
man seeks to discover the wizards who are workers of anti-social
magic. The Umbundu distinction between the legitimate practi-
tioner (ocimbanda) and the evil magician (nganga) is one which holds
among many Negro tribes.
Among the minor characteristics of Negro culture in southern
Nigeria are the following traits, which might be accepted as fairly
constant elements of Negro civilization.
Foremost among these is the making of drums, signaling, keeping
sacred drums in special houses, belief in spirits living in drums,
and association of drummers with the king's compound. Among
games, string figures, mancala, and wrestling are common in Negro
communities. The ceremonial use of kola nuts, scarification, tooth
mutilation, the use of red camwood powder, and the wearing of
Tribes and Their Cultures 459
heavy collars, bracelets, and anklets are traits found to varying
extent in Negro groups.
These traits comprising religious beliefs, social organization, and
handicrafts, when massed together form a complex life which may
be described as a Negro culture. Into this foundation of Nigerian
Negro life, there have been many intrusions from other cultural
patterns, which will now be considered.
Foreign Elements in Negro Culture
The preceding pages have described a background of Negro
culture in Nigeria, but the task of estimating the origin and strength
of cultural intrusions is more difficult. The foreign elements in
Nigerian Negro cultures are mainly Hamitic, Semitic, Mediterranean,
and European. The word Semitic is here used to include, not merely
pre-Koranic cultural elements from early Arabian life, but also those
which are associated with Arab incursions and Mohammedanism.
The Mediterranean culture includes traits of Egypt from 4000 B.C.
onward, and perhaps elements from Cretan, Roman, and
Some Hamitic traits are now so well entrenched among Negroes
as to form part of a Negro culture, and a possible instance of this
was mentioned in connection with age grades. The fattening of
girls before marriage is now a Negro custom of southern Nigeria,
but dispersal of the rite along north Africa and in the Hamiticised
area of northeast Africa suggests Hamitic origin.
Operations on the sexual organs of girls are frequent among
Negro tribes, for example, among the Yoruba, the Ijaw, and the
Bini, but there is evidence to indicate that the custom was originally
Hamitic. The operation occurs in its most drastic form among the
Kababish of Kordofan in whom there are Semitic and Hamitic
elements of race and culture. The Galla and other tribes of the
Hamitic area of northeast Africa perform clitoridectomy or some
other operation on their females, and the observations of Seligman
(I, III) indicate that these rites have a Semitico-Hamitic origin.
Circumcision of boys is now a strongly entrenched trait of Negro
life, whether Mohammedan or not, but in all probability the practice
did not originate with Negroes or with Mohammedan Arabs. The
earliest evidence for circumcision of boys is derived from dissection
of Egyptian mummies (G. Elliot Smith, Ancient Egyptians and
Origins of Civilization, 1923, p. 62). The archaeological and
anatomical evidence suggests 3600 B.C. as the earliest known period
460 Culture Areas of Nigeria
for this rite, which may have been introduced into the Nile Valley
by early Hamites.
In continuing to enumerate traits that have imposed themselves
on the Negro culture of southern Nigeria the following are important
not merely as an academic study, but in the practical aspects of
administration and education.
Mohammedanism has entered into the tribal life of Nigeria,
bringing with it influences affecting religion, family government,
law, art, literature, and education. The general tenets of the
Mohammedan faith are too well known to require detailed recapitula-
tion. But they may be summarized in the briefest way by referring
to the repetition of a creed, the saying of prayers five times a day,
the erection of mosques, the keeping of the feast of Ramadan and
other holy periods, the giving of alms, and the desirability of
making a pilgrimage to Mecca.
Mohammedan law forbids trial by ordeal, but an oath is taken
on the Koran, a legal procedure which has its analogue in the Negro
custom of swearing at a sacred shrine. But despite differences
between Mohammedan and Negro law a unity exists, since both
are concerned with redress of private wrongs rather than mainte-
nance of public order. This is true especially with regard to
punishments for murder, theft, and adultery.
Mohammedan law introduces new elements into Negro concepts
of family government and the institution of slavery. The relation-
ship between master and slave receives a legal sanction based on
Koranic teaching, and this relationship is reflected in laws regulating
marriage of slaves, the status of children of slaves, and the legal
rights of these offspring. Mohammedan religion and law have
placed a check on cannibalism, trial by ordeal, and human sacrifice.
Under Mohammedan dominance a type of political organization
different from that of the Negro prevails, especially north of 9° N.
Lat. The Islamic type of government favors strong sultanates
operating through an aristocracy under which farmers are both
landowners and slaves.
Koranic injunction forbidding the use of human and animal
forms in art stimulates the use of geometric design; such motifs
may be seen in the brass work of Bida and in the leather work of
Kano. The religious influence of Islam leads to the founding of
schools where the mallam sits with his pupils teaching them to
write Koranic texts on smooth boards. And along with Mohammedan
religion and education are found the rosary and the use of leather
Tribes and Their Cultures 461
charms containing Koranic texts. Bori dancing to cast out demons
of sickness is a spiritual factor of unknown history. Possibly it
is of Negro origin, though now practiced in Mohammedan
Elements of Arabian folklore are sometimes grafted on Negro
A northern Mohammedan culture has brought with it the use
of clay houses of the type seen at Kano, at Bida, and among the
Yoruba. Such dwellings are quite distinct from houses of typical
Negro construction (Plate CXLII). The use of an impluvium in
Yoruban yards is possibly a cultural trait of Roman origin.
The turban, a riga or gown, and wide trousers are elements
foreign to Negro culture (Plate CXXXII); so also are sandals, but
these date back far beyond the introduction of Mohammedan
culture. In Egypt (1500 B.C.) sandals were commonly worn, and
two thousand years before that date they were known. Materials used
in their construction were leather, papyrus reeds, and palm fiber.
In a journey northward from Lagos horses were observed in
Ilorin, but few were seen until Bida, which is on the ninth parallel,
was reached. The occurrence of horses at this place along with
their accoutrements, which are products of the leather workers'
and blacksmiths' crafts, is an intrusion of cultural importance because
of its stimulation to industry.
The use of cross-hilted swords, and knives with scabbards of
brass or silver, is a northern trait which is traceable across the
Sahara to Morocco, as may be seen in Meakin's "The Moors"
(p. 201). The styles of beaten brass work in Bida undoubtedly owe
much to Moroccan influence (Meakin, pp. 82-85, and my Plate
With this northern Mohammedan culture are associated itinerant
barbers whose outfit includes cupping horns, razors, knives for
circumcising children, possibly also henna stain and instruments
for tattooing designs in indigo.
In Kano henna stain was placed at the bottom of narrow decorated
gourds which were worn on the arms of women. Tattooing is done in
Kano, but not in Ramadan. I observed women as far south as
Ogbomosho who had intricate, incised, geometrical designs on their
backs, and into these a blue coloring matter had been rubbed; the
process has been described by J. W. Scott Macfie. The use of
henna, tattooing, and kohl under the eyes are non-Negro traits
which have penetrated from Egypt along the Mediterranean littoral
462 Culture Areas of Nigeria
into a Negro population such as the Yoruba, in whose market places
the accessories of these traits were purchased. Wearing a silver
or wooden plug in the side of the nostril is another form of personal
ornament not indigenous to the Negro, though it is common in
north Africa, Egypt, and India (Plate CXXXIX, Figs. 1, 2).
The large market places of Nigeria are not a typical Negro trait;
they resemble the large bazaars of north African and Egyptian towns.
There is nothing in the general style and organization of the extensive
markets at Ibadan and Ilorin to justify their inclusion with the
unpretentious trade of typical Negroes. A large bazaar does not
seem compatible with the typical forest culture of the Negro, and
the trait is probably derived from a northern Arab culture. In
close association with these markets are entertainers, including snake
charmers, wrestlers, professional singers, players of the algaita, water
carriers, troupes of dancers, barber surgeons, and showmen who
work marionettes (Plates CXLVII-CXLIX, CLII). All of these
elements one associates with north Africa, Egypt, and farther east,
but not with the typical Negro.
Several musical instruments which are made and used in Morocco
(Meakin, pp. 202-203) are foreign to Negro culture. These forms
include the algaita, which is known in Morocco as the ghaitah; also
the pottery drum and the ginbiri. The last instrument is known
to the Hausa as molo. This is a small wooden instrument covered
with leather, and it is played by twanging two strings. In the
Northern Provinces occurs the long trumpet such as is used by horse-
men of Bornu, who form the household guard of the Shehu. In
addition to these instruments of non-Negro origin and use, are
several musical instruments strung with horsehair and played with
a bow strung with the same material. These stringed instruments
which were used at Maiduguri are undoubtedly an intrusion, possibly
from western Asia.
If one reflects on the duration and force of Arab culture in
northern Africa there is no difficulty in assessing the importance of
a Semitic and Mohammedan Arab culture that has permeated, and
in places almost obliterated that of the Negro. Arab dynasties
ruled Egypt from the seventh to the fifteenth centuries, and one must
remember that the Arabs have, in addition to traits that accompany
Mohammedanism, a strong foundation of Semitic culture traceable
to Arabia in pre-Koranic times.
Moreover, the Arab dynasties of Egypt were in touch with those
of Baghdad and Persia, and an extension of Arab power is indicated
Tribes and Their Cultures 463
by the founding of dynasties in Sennar, Kordofan, and Darfur. In
addition to the line of migration along the north of Africa, there was
a steady intrusion of Mohammedan and pre-Mohammedan traits
across the Sudan.
The importance of Arabs as culture carriers can scarcely be
overestimated. It is not improbable that the drawing of silver wire
and the making of beaten brass work as practiced in Nigeria, together
with the use of wooden blocks for stamping designs on cloth, as in
Ashanti, may be traceable through Arab agency to Persia and
India, where such cultural traits are ancient and well established.
An examination of typical Negro traits has left no ground for
supposing that such technique might have evolved independently
among west African Negroes. In conjunction with intrusive elements
may be mentioned the use of chain armor and helmets for riders;
also thick, quilted armor for horses. Photographs of these non-Negro
traits were made at Potiskum in the courtyard of the Emir of Fika
(Plate CLIII). Associated with horsemen are the use of greaves
of metal, a two-edged short sword of Roman pattern, and a throwing-
iron. This weapon has been described in detail and its types,
distribution, and possible evolution from ancient and modern
thro wing-clubs have been discussed (chapter IV, pp. 409, 438).
Throwing-knives of iron are used in the neighborhood of Lake
Chad and along the route from Kano to Maiduguri. But the
weapons have not penetrated the southern Negro culture because
they are typically associated with warfare in which horses are used.
The same may be said of armor, a trait that is linked with horses
and warfare as practiced in the north of Nigeria.
There is no possibility of tracing to its source every element of
culture which has intruded into Negro life, but armor for men and
horses may, I think, be definitely ascribed to Persian origin, with
Arabs as the carriers of the trait to Africa (B. Laufer, History of
Chain Mail, Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Anthr. Ser., XIII, No. 2, 1914,
In the markets of Ibadan and Ilorin are water coolers and
pottery lamps (Plate XCVI, Figs. 1, 2, 4, 6) which are derived from
a northern Mediterranean culture, since they resemble forms used
in Algeria, Malta, Egypt, and Crete. Such objects may be seen
for sale in those regions today, and they are among the finds of
archaeologists in the places mentioned. When dealing with industries
(chapter IV, p. 411) attention was called to harpoons with detachable
iron heads and floats; such fishing apparatus was collected from the
464 Culture Areas of Nigeria
Munshi and the Buduma, and there is some reason for linking these
cultural elements with Egypt.
Among cultural traits that have invaded Nigeria from the
north and east, either by way of the Mediterranean coast or
the Sudan, is the use of shafted and tunnelled graves, as among the
Bolewa and the Yergum (C. K. Meek, I, vol. I, p. 60). Meek also
attributes to Egypt high-withered cattle, pumpkins, cowpeas, and
rice. Mummification (loc. cit.) has been included among cultural
traits from Egypt, but the mere drying and preservation of corpses
has no necessary connection with Egyptian methods, and drying
and preserving a king's body is a common and possibly an indigenous
Negro custom. The soul is thought to be in the blood, and its libera-
tion is secured by slowly drying the corpse over a fire. Preservation
of parts of the royal corpse for future ceremonies has been described
in enumerating traits of Negro culture in general, and no reason
can be adduced for attributing these customs to an ancient Egyptian
origin unless the details of technique can be shown to be Egyptian.
On the contrary, use of a funeral boat in which a chief of the
Jukun is buried is probably traceable to the Egyptian custom as
described by James J. Breasted (A History of Egypt, New York,
1910, p. 176). In a prefatory note to R. S. Seton's article (I) Sir
H. R. Palmer states that several aspects of the present Jukun
religion and culture suggest an influence from the Nile Valley. The
Attah of Idah (south of Lokoja and north of Onitsha) are still buried
in a funeral boat, a custom which has survived in Bornu even among
the Moslem Kanembu, whose sheikh is carried to burial in a boat.
As a non-Negro trait of southern Nigeria, Talbot (IV, vol. II,
p. 142) calls attention to double ax worship among the Yoruba,
Bini, Ekoi, and other tribes, and suggests that the cult-axes which
he illustrates may be related to similar forms of Cretan origin.
A visit to Ife is convincing of the intrusion of a foreign element
into Yoruban culture, but to speak of that element as Etruscan is
assuming what is far from demonstrable; neither is hypothesis
assisted by postulating a culture derived from the lost Atlantis
(L. Frobenius, II). For the present, ethnologists will have to be
content with calling this unknown culture a Mediterranean influence,
a term which would include cultural traits from Egypt, Carthage,
Crete, and Rome. This generalizing of traits is more prudent than
the use of specific terms.
The existence of sacred groves has been noted as a trait that is
characteristic of Negro culture; consequently, one cannot claim the
Tribes and Their Cultures 465
sacred groves of Ife as an intrusive element. Secretion of objects
in the bush near Ife is merely part of the general Negro culture of
southern Nigeria. But, on the contrary, the objects within the groves
and the equipment of the priests in charge of these sacred symbols
are distinctly non-Negro in their appearance. This will be conceded
after inspection of the three priests in their official dress (Plate
CLIV, Fig. 1) ; the pictures of terra cotta heads taken in the sacred
grove (Plate CLVII, Figs. 1, 2); and the finely modeled head of
Lajawa, the messenger of Onis (Plate CLVI, Fig. 1).
The first shrine visited at Ife was that of Obalufon, first son of
Oduduwa, the creator. In the shrine, which was a small hut, was
a clay figure of Obalufon about 50 cm. high, and before this effigy
were spread small offerings of palm wine, kola nuts, and cowrie
shells. In the Awni's (ruler's) palace I inspected a cast bronze head
of Obalufon which was the most remarkable casting seen, not except-
ing the best work from Benin.
I was not allowed to touch this head, but noted a preponderance
of copper in what is presumably an alloy. In this palace was pre-
served the terra cotta head of Lajawa which bears a distinct resem-
blance to plaster masks from Greco-Egyptian burials of the first
and third centuries of the Christian era (Field Museum Collection,
Nos. 88902 and 88904). H. J. Braunholtz and R. P. Wild have
described terra cotta heads found in Ashanti. These heads are also
suggestive of a foreign intrusion into Negro culture.
The grove of Ogun, patron of the blacksmith's craft, contains
a large pear-shaped object of ironstone, said to be the hammer
of the first blacksmith, and near-by is a cylindrical stone called the
anvil. Over this the remains of a dog were stretched, and I was
informed that a dog is sacrificed to Ogun twice a year (Plate
CLV, Fig. 2). Association of ritual with the blacksmith's craft
is a common feature of Negro culture, but this instance at Ife is
peculiar in the employment of a special grove and the preservation
of tools said to belong to the first blacksmith. The groves at Ife
are a Negro trait with the addition of aspects of a civilization whose
intrusion has given a well-developed mythology and deism to
Yoruban culture. In another grove are an anvil-stone and two stone
crocodiles. Eshu, the devil-stone, is in a densely wooded grove.
The figure, which is about three feet high, is within a clay wall of
about the same height. In the Idena grove is the stone statue of
Olofe-finra wearing a stone collar (Plate CLVI, Fig. 2). The Opa
Oranyan, that is, the staff of Oranyan the first Alafin or ruler of
466 Culture Areas of Nigeria
Oyo, is a rounded, tapering column of stone 3 meters 35 cm. high and
100 cm. in girth. In this stone are inserted forty-five copper rivets.
The origin of this stone column, like that of the other stone figures,
One of the interesting sights of Ife is a pond covered with duck-
weed. This water was said to be deep and connected underground
with a similar pond a few hundred feet away. The guide ruffled
the surface of the water with his fingers and threw in a little meal
paste. Immediately, the water became agitated with small and large
catfish that fed greedily. The catfish is a sacred animal of west
Africa which was frequently cast in bronze at Benin; neither is the
pool for sacred catfish the only one of its kind. J. L. Sibley and
D. Westermann mention such pools in Liberia (Liberia, New and
Old, London, 1929, p. 76). The catfish pool at Ife is said to have
been created by Oduduwa, who brought a cock and a calabash of
sand in order to make dry land in the sea. When the cock scratched,
he spread the sand, which multiplied until only the pool at Ife was
left as a remnant of a primordial ocean.
About a mile from Ife, and on the main road from that town
to Ibadan, three priests led the way into the bush. The path became
narrower and the bush more dense until only patches of sunlight
filtered through the leaves. As we neared the sacred grove the
priests began a chant that continued until the narrow path led into
a circular clearing, in the middle of which was a large wooden box.
Before this the three priests knelt, bowed their heads, and
clapped their hands five times. The oldest of the priests knelt
between the two younger ones, who were his sons. The official
priesthood of this grove is hereditary and distinct from the priest-
hoods of other groves, each of which has its own acolytes. After
clapping hands the priests bowed to the ground, cupped their hands,
and blew into them. They then straightened their bodies, clapped
hands four times, bent low, and again blew into their hands.
The oldest priest unfastened a key from his belt from which hung
a number of leather charms. The lock yielded with difficulty and
the lid was raised, revealing a number of terra cotta heads which
the priests took from the bottom of the box and set out for photo-
graphing (Plate CLVII, Figs. 1, 2). The heads were six in number
as the picture shows, and at the left end of the row were two terra
cotta pieces that resembled fragments in the bottom of the box.
Mr. Adejumo, a native pastor, recalls that thirty years ago com-
plete terra cotta figures stood upright in the grove. Inspection of
Tribes and Their Cultures 467
fragments in the box supports this statement, and the picture shows
a broken torso. P. A. Talbot (IV, vol. I, p. 277) calls attention to
Petrie's impression that no bodies are known in connection with the
heads found by Frobenius (II, vol. I, Plate VII). But my observation
and the testimony of Adejumo show that bodies have existed. There
were certainly fragments of arms, legs, and trunks in the box.
The third and sixth heads from the right probably represent
Lajawa and Obalufon, because they closely resemble heads so named
which I photographed in the palace at Ife. The most Negroid head
is the fourth from the right, and on this the grooves represent a
scarification similar to certain tribal marks seen today. The face
of one of my servants, a man of the Bema tribe, near Gombe, was
cut in this way during infancy (Plate CXIX, Fig. 2). The most
non-Negroid face is the third from the right, and this object supports
the view of Petrie (Ancient Egypt, 1914, p. 84) that terra cotta heads
of Ife "are in every respect close to the pottery heads from the
foreign quarter at Memphis."
The dress of the priests is certainly not of Negro origin. The
miters, the method of wearing white clothing, and the bronze
staffs, together with the ceremony and the terra cotta heads, all
represent an intrusive element that has been grafted on the Negro
custom of guarding sacred objects in forest groves.
The culture at Ife becomes more understandable when reference
is made to reports on excavations at Carthage. R. P. Delattre
describes and illustrates several objects which suggest the origin of
some non-Negro elements in southern Nigerian religion.
Delattre shows what he calls "Tete de dieu Carthaginois" (p. 6,
Fig. 3; p. 24, Fig. 8) in which the miter is like those worn by the
priests at Ife. This miter closely resembles the atef or crown of
Osiris. The funerary stelae and statues might well be parental forms
of those at Ife (p. 21) . The sacred ax is shown by Delattre (Deuxieme
Semestre des Fouilles, Paris, 1898, Figs. 20, 21). P. A. Talbot's
references to the ax as a cult object in Nigeria have previously been
noted, and Delattre's picture of such an ax at Carthage supports
Talbot's suggestion of a connection between ax-worship in Nigeria
Although at present there is no possibility of proving generic
relationship between the archaeological finds at Carthage and those
of Ife, one feels that this northern influence may account for the
lamps, terra cotta heads, pottery vessels, and stelae of the Yoruba.
Carthage was founded in the latter part of the ninth century B.C.
468 Culture Areas of Nigeria
on the site of an older Phoenician colony, and in consideration of
the constant traffic from north Africa to west Africa by land and sea
it would be surprising if some cultural influence were not transmitted .
Reference to R. Cagnat's "Carthage, Timgad, and T£bessa" and
to the illustrations in F. W. Kelsey's "Excavations at Carthage,"
will indicate the general resemblances between Carthaginian and
Yoruban culture with respect to the objects mentioned.
Among the Nigerian traits that are foreign to Negro culture are
some of European introduction. The brass work of Bida includes
trays and vessels that are copies of European forms; European dyes
are used in some places for cloth and baskets; and objects made
in leather are in many instances imitations of European patterns.
Sewing machines are sometimes used for stitching cotton clothing
and articles of leather.
Ling Roth (V) thinks, as previously noted, that whereas the
vertical cotton loom may have originated in Egypt in ancient
times, the horizontal, narrow-band, treadle loom is of Portuguese
Gathering indigo plants and extracting dyes therefrom, I have
shown to have a distribution from Sierra Leone to Lake Chad, and
references from the works of early explorers were given in chapter IV.
Dyeing of cloth is not a typical Negro trait, though now so widespread
among west African Negroes. The evidences favor a hypothesis of
the introduction of indigo dyeing from India to north Africa and from
Tripoli by caravan trade across the Sahara. Such a view is, I think,
supported by historical facts, and by botanical evidence respecting
distribution of the indigo plant (B. Laufer, I).
The crossbow is usually accepted as a cultural element of southern
Nigeria which is traceable to Portuguese origin. On the contrary
a consensus of opinion is against the suggestion that the Portuguese
introduced casting of bronze and brass. Casting by the lost-wax
method is not a typical Negro trait and the evidence reviewed in
chapter IV left the impression that this process might have migrated
from Egypt. The manufacture of glass is certainly not a trait of
Negro culture and the isolation of the centers, one at Bida and one
in Ashanti, suggests introduction from an extraneous source.
Use of a state umbrella is not an original and typical Negro trait,
yet among the Yoruba the craft of umbrella-making is in the hands
of an exclusive guild of workers employed at Oyo (S. Johnson, p. 52).
Possibly umbrellas were first introduced by Europeans in early days
of contact, but some evidence is against this theory.
Tribes and Their Cultures 469
J. A. Skertchly and A. le HeYisse" emphasize the importance
of state umbrellas having heraldic devices and pictures of the
kings' exploits emblazoned on the covers. R. S. Rattray (IV)
repeatedly refers to umbrellas as part of the regalia of kings and
the rites of ancestor worship. Figures representing gods have
umbrellas, and the sacred stools of priests and priestesses are
carried each under its own umbrella. There is little probability
that so much ritual and belief have developed in connection with an
object of European introduction.
The use of fans of leather and ostrich plumes suggests an Egyptian
origin, possibly from the Nile Valley, through north Africa, and across
the Sahara. Adolf Erman (H. M. Tirard's translation of "Life in
Ancient Egypt," p. 490) calls attention to the use of fans in associa-
tion with umbrellas in Egypt during the Middle Empire. Therefore
the possibility must be recognized and the fan and the umbrella
are factors derived from Egypt and possibly from farther east.
The cultural traits discussed under the heading "Foreign Elements
in Negro Culture" have included:
(1) Factors from Hamitic culture.
(2) Semitic traits associated with Arab invasions and with
(3) Elements from the civilization of ancient Egypt and Carthage.
The term used to describe a culture of Egypt and north Africa is
"Mediterranean." This term is found to be sufficiently broad to
designate a large number of traits whose exact origin is unknown.
(4) Cultural influence of Europeans.
The inquiry now turns from the southern Negro culture and its
intrusive elements to a consideration of the cultural pattern of
Nigeria, north of 9° N. Lat. The types of life and the elements
involved in cultures between 9° and 14° N. Lat. constitute what
is described in the next section as the Northern Culture.
The Northern Culture
This culture, which extends from the ninth to the fourteenth
parallels, contains many of the traits that have been discussed under
the heading "Foreign Elements in Negro Culture." These traits
are divisible into those closely associated with Mohammedanism,
and others conveniently gathered under the name "Mediterranean."
There is this clear difference between the cultural patterns north
and south of 9° N. Lat. respectively. South of 9° a Negro culture
470 Culture Areas of Nigeria
predominates, but north of 9° the prevailing cultural elements are
associated with Mohammedanism, the Mediterranean culture, and
occupations centering in the keeping of camels, horses, and cattle.
So far, description has been concerned with a basic Negro culture,
chiefly of southern Nigeria, into which intrusions have entered.
Now, when approaching a study of cultures in the Northern Prov-
inces, it is necessary to note a reversal in the importance of the
cultural elements. North of 9° the importance of Negro traits
declines while non-Negro cultures predominate. The inquiry is
therefore concerned with the extent to which a forest culture of
Negroes has survived in a northward direction, and the manner
in which the forest culture of the south is gradually attenuated
with every advance toward the border of the Sahara.
When proceeding from south to north a traveler has to note that
the hoe culture of the Negro still persists. But root crops, though
important, are supplemented by millet, maize, rice, and wheat in
quantities greater than those existing in a system of Negro cultivation,
which is usually carried on in forest clearings. Meek notes the use
of the shaduf in Bornu (I, vol. I, p. 128), a means of irrigation which
is characteristic of north Africa and the Nile Valley. Terraced
cultivation is an essential feature of agriculture in the rugged
central plateau region. But such methods are not known in the
forest regions occupied by Negroes.
Among the Hausa, who have considerable Negro blood, there are
many elements of Negro culture, including alliances between human
and animal life, together with beliefs in the residence of human
spirits in plants, animals, and inanimate objects. The combination
of Negro culture with Mohammedan faith is well illustrated by
Tremearne's "The Ban of the Bori," while the predominance of
Negro culture among non-Moslem Hausa such as the Maguzawa is
appreciated by reference to an article by P. Krusius.
Meek notes the existence of terms of the Negro classificatory
system of relationship among the Hausa and the Gwari (I, vol. I,
p. 237); the blood covenant by sucking blood or by eating a kola
nut on which the blood of the contracting parties has been smeared
(op. cit., p. 211) ; also the power of the mother's brother; all of which
occur in typical Negro society (op. cit., pp. 219-225). These factors
reported by Meek exemplify the persistence of traits of Negro culture
in a northward direction, but gradually the establishment of a true
northern type of culture is observed. The northern patterns include
elements comprised under Mediterranean, Mohammedan, and Arab
Tribes and Their Cultures 471
culture, but in addition some factors not hitherto mentioned have
to be recorded.
Northern Nigeria has not a typical camel culture such as that
possessed by the Tuareg of Asben, the Kababish of Kordofan, the
Tibbu of Tibesti, and the dwellers in such oases as Fashi and Bilma.
In Kordofan, for example, the breeding and rearing of camels,
together with seasonal migrations, are fundamental elements of
the life of the Kababish. Milk of camels is an important item of
diet, and the flesh resulting from ceremonial slaughter is eaten at
weddings, at funerals, and on other ritual occasions. A great industry
centers in the making of accoutrements, and the hair of camels is
used for weaving tents and rugs. The branding of camels has an
important social significance since the marks denoting family owner-
ship are combined when union of two families is effected by marriage.
Important references to the camel culture are as follows: C. G.
Seligman (III), H. A. MacMichael (I, II), and F. R. Rodd.
All these ethnologists describe a camel culture which is more
highly developed than that of northern Nigeria. But between the
fourteenth and twelfth parallels caravans are of great importance in
the economic life of tribes of the French Niger Territory, from Zinder
to Tahoua, also along the line from Kano to Maiduguri, and up to
Kukawa near Lake Chad. Kukawa is a terminus of caravan trade
by way of Bilma across the Sahara to Tripoli.
Northern Nigeria has a camel culture which might be described
as an intrusion of the true Saharan camel culture, and there is
interest in noting a seasonal distribution of this intrusive culture,
which advances southward with the dry season and retreats at the
onset of rains. Notwithstanding the importance of the present
camel culture of the Sahara the use of camels for transport probably
does not antedate the year 200 a.d. F. R. Rodd (pp. 206-208) gives
a summary of the historical evidence bearing on this subject.
With the camel culture is a horse culture which has important
foci at Sokoto and in Bornu. These provinces are centers of horse-
breeding, and horses are of importance between the tenth and four-
teenth parallels of latitude. In former days horses were even more
numerous because of warfare in the Northern Provinces. Every
Sultan had large cavalry regiments and bodyguards, which were
the chief units used in combat. With horses are associated the
occupations of the blacksmith and the leather worker.
Horses were represented for the first time on Egyptian monu-
ments of the eighteenth dynasty, and they are said to have been
472 Culture Areas of Nigeria
introduced between the Middle and the New Empires. Primarily
horses were used for drawing chariots and not for riding (A. Erman,
Life in Ancient Egypt, London, 1894, p. 490), but Hannibal used
Numidian cavalry in 217 B.C. These facts, combined with move-
ments of Arabs along north Africa and the Sudan, make the presence
and importance of horses in Nigeria understandable.
A journey along the twelfth parallel from Lake Chad to Kano,
and from that town northward to Zinder, then westward along the
fourteenth parallel, shows the importance of transport by oxen
(Plate CXLV, Figs. 1, 2). In fact, a route exists along which camels,
horses, and oxen may be seen in the course of a day; but climatic
factors, especially rainfall, have a limiting influence.
Camels cannot thrive too far south because of increasing moisture.
Furthermore, horses and oxen are restricted to areas where water
can be obtained, though these animals show remarkable adaption
to drought. The southern expansion of the horse culture is checked
by two factors: firstly, the existence of dense forests in which horses
would be useless; and secondly, the presence of the tsetse fly. There-
fore, there exists a spatial distribution of those traits which are
associated with camels, oxen, and horses, and this distribution is
determined by climatic and biological factors.
Important changes are to be noted in connection with the keeping
of cattle from the fourteenth parallel southward. Use of oxen for
transport gradually merges into a pastoral culture, such as that of
the migratory Fulani, who drive their animals from one region to
another. Meek (I, vol. I, p. 118) distinguishes five breeds of cattle
and ascribes the high-withered animals to an Egyptian origin. The
animal shown in Plate CXLIV, Fig. 2, resembles those of Egyptian
paintings. Among the Fulani the keeping of cattle is not merely
an occupation without ceremonial importance. Cattle are said to be
a gift of the water spirit, and at the death of the owner division is
made according to rules. Elder brothers receive the black cattle
and younger brothers take the white animals (Wilson-Haffenden, I).
E. A. Brackenbury gives some details of the ceremonial element
connected with cattle-keeping. Milk is used and butter is made,
but cattle are seldom eaten. Slaughter of cattle and eating of meat
occur on such ceremonial occasions as weddings, naming children,
and Mohammedan festivals. Only males herd cattle, with which
they are very intimate, calling the animals by name and showing
the affection which is characteristic of some Nilotic tribes; also the
Bahima and the Masai.
Tribes and Their Cultures 473
If rain is needed the headman in charge of a Fulani kraal strips
himself naked and stands among the cattle, whose horns he anoints
with milk. Sometimes a mallam is employed to walk seven times
round the kraal repeating texts from the Koran. This pastoral
culture is evidently different from the mere use of oxen for transport.
The Fulani employ young bulls as transport animals, yet some of
the ceremonial aspects of a typical cattle culture are operative.
The flogging ceremony witnessed near Shendam (Plate CXXXVI,
Fig. 1) has been photographed by G. M. Haardt (National Geo-
graphic Magazine, XLIX, p. 679) at Zinder, four hundred miles
north of Shendam, and further evidence shows the rite to have
been adopted by various Fulani tribes as part of initiation ceremonies
for boys, as a test of competitive endurance between two different
Fulani tribes, and as part of the dancing and games of a religious
festival. A similar ceremony is practiced in the Province of Sennar,
eastern Sudan. The rite seen near Shendam is one which qualifies
youths for marriage, and the girls who are seen standing near are
the prospective brides of the competitors. Further information
relating to this whipping ceremony and other Fulani customs may
be found in several books and articles, noted in the bibliography
under the names of L. N. Reed, E. A. Brackenbury, J. R. Wilson-
Haffenden, H. R. Palmer, G. Vieillard, and G. W. Webster.
In the northern culture a sporadic occurrence of Negro traits
which are characteristic of the southern forest culture is noticeable,
but these elements are overlaid by a Mohammedan Arab culture.
And in addition we have to note for the northern regions the
importance of camels, cattle, and horses.
There yet remains for study a plateau region whose culture has
not been considered. This elevation stretches along the ninth
parallel, forming a barrier between the northern and the southern
The Plateau Barrier
Stretching across Nigeria between the parallels 9° and 10° N.
Lat. is a plateau region that extends from Yola in the east, through
Bauchi, Nassarawa, Zaria, and Kontagora. Elevations rise in some
places to a height of six thousand feet, while the general character
is one of ruggedness and inaccessibility. Consequently, in this region
exist many cultural pockets, which preserve modes of life showing
traits that are probably of an early Negro character.
There are in the plateau region few intrusive factors from
Mohammedanism or from any other source. The so-called pagan
474 Culture Areas of Nigeria
tribes, a name which has no ethnological connotation beyond
denoting the absence of Mohammedanism and Christianity, have
for long periods taken refuge in these sequestered highlands, where
they have been free from the domination of Negro kingdoms of the
south and Mohammedan aggression from the north. Probably
this plateau region of Nigeria is culturally and historically a part
of a similar belt extending westward into the Northern Provinces
of the Gold Coast (R. S. Rattray, VI), and eastward to the Nuba of
My only personal contact with plateau tribes was among the
Angas who inhabit hillside villages near Pankshin (Plates CXXIV,
Fig. 2; CXXVIII; CXXIX, Fig. 2). At Maiduguri I photographed
a man from Gwozo (Plate CXXIX, Fig. 1), and at Potiskum, north
of the plateau, two men of the Keri-Keri tribe (Plate CXXVII).
In most of these plateau tribes there is a dominant proportion
of Negro blood, but the Gwozo and Keri-Keri, and to a lesser extent
the Angas, show physical elements which modify the coarser Negro
features. Thus, modification of the physical traits of the Negro
occurs in the direction of more slender build, reduction of the breadth
of the nose, and modification of the thickness and eversion of the lips.
The difficulty of classifying the languages of the plateau tribes
is realized from Meek's statements, yet the majority of the tongues
spoken in the high plateau are included in one or another of the
divisions named western, middle, or central Sudanic. Like many
other plateau languages, that of the Angas is an isolating tongue,
but its precise relationships to other tongues are not known (Meek,
I, vol. I, pp. 137-139).
The clothing of plateau tribes is either absent or scanty. The
dress of the Gwozo man photographed at Maiduguri consisted solely
of a loin covering and a cap of hide. The Keri-Keri men of Potis-
kum wore no more than loin coverings of leather, so resembling
plateau tribes. Women of the Angas tribe wore leaves before and
behind if married, but if unmarried the leaves were worn only on
the buttocks. Most of the Angas men had some clothing, if only a
few fragments of trade cloth. The tribal scar of Angas males is a
raised, broad cicatrice which extends from the zygomatic arch to
the chin on both sides of the face (Plate CXXIV, Fig. 2).
Tremearne (III, p. 104) further illustrates the scanty dress of
plateau tribes. His photograph shows a Kagoro woman and an
Attakka woman each wearing an appendage of palm fiber on the
buttocks. "When a girl is married, her mother removes her girdle
Tribes and Their Cultures 475
and a small branch or bunch of leaves is hung in front." Tremearne
also shows the wearing of a lip disk by an Attakka woman (p. 110).
In the region of Jos I saw several men who were naked except for
the penis sheath, which is worn by the Berom and many other tribes
listed by Meek (I, vol. I, p. 41). Oric Bates (pp. 113, 119, 122, 148)
proves that the penis sheath was worn by predynastic Egyptians
Scarification is a typically Negro trait which is shared by the
plateau tribes, who have their own distinctive patterns. But other
forms of decoration, such as nose pins, lip disks, bunches of leaves,
and penis sheaths, are not typically Nigerian. To these traits of
the plateau region may be added the use of the sling as a weapon.
Probably traits which are found among a sequestered people
who have been isolated for a long time are remnants of an old culture,
and if this is true the plateau tribes preserve those traits, which,
though formerly important in pre-Negro and Negro culture, are now
obsolete or are tending to become so.
The approach to villages of the Angas tribe led up steep narrow
paths. There was, however, nothing but the assurance of the guide
that human habitations would be reached, for not a sign of dwellings
could be seen. The hillsides were terraced for cultivation, and on
the broad ledges, which were supported by stones, millet was grown.
The Angas also cultivate tobacco; this they smoke in large pipes,
some of which are made entirely of iron forged by local blacksmiths
of the tribe. No poultry or pigs, but only sheep, goats, and cattle
were observed. I was informed that the Fulani sometimes employ
the Angas as herdsmen. Among the hills were ponies, but I am not
sure that their riders were of the Angas tribe.
An Angas village consists of a small group of cylindrical clay
huts placed close together (Plate CXXVIII, Figs. 1, 2). Women
wear aprons of leaves and use red coloring matter on their own
bodies and those of their children. When meeting men of their
tribe, women and girls crouch to the ground.
A forge was seen, but apparently it had not been used recently,
though the long-handled bellows was present. The apparent disuse
of the forge is explained by Meek (I, vol. I, p. 149). Iron-working
among the Angas is a seasonal craft, and in this occupation occurs
considerable ceremonial of a kind which is in keeping with that of
the blacksmith's craft among Negroes generally.
At one point a warning was given against entering a hut contain-
ing several large wooden drums, and an explanation was supplied
476 Culture Areas of Nigeria
to the effect that spirits of dead chiefs lived in the drums. I obtained
without difficulty a drum of the same kind which was owned by a
living person, and apparently the drum of a chief becomes sacred
only after his death, at which time the instrument is preserved in
a hut for drums.
The dances in progress among the Angas, but not necessarily
performed entirely by Angas men, are illustrated (Plate CXXX,
Figs. 1, 2). The chief instruments used were side-blown horns,
which gave deep mellow tones, reed pipes, and for the principal
dancers skin-covered drums.
We may now assemble additional data relating to some of the
plateau tribes, whose cultural traits can be compared with those
of other tribes to the north and south of the plateau region.
The government of the Angas, and of plateau tribes in general,
is of the unconsolidated type, and in normal times the headman of
a village is of primary importance, though in warfare there may be
a leader who, after hostilities, retains at least a nominal headship
of the tribe. Meek says of the head of the Angas tribe, that as
president of local groups he has few prerogatives, and that his duties
as head of a village are more important. There is no doubt that the
plateau tribes have not shared in the elaborate political organization
of the Negro, with its ideas of exalted kingship, supported by a
political organization of chiefs and military leaders. There are,
however, among plateau tribes, chiefs who are endowed with auto-
cratic powers which make them more than nominal rulers (Meek,
I, vol. I, p. 250).
Meek notes among the Angas tribe ceremonial cannibalism,
divination, beliefs in omens, collective responsibility whereby a
relative may be tried instead of the accused, rain-making, and
swearing an oath on a sacred object. In addition to these Negro
traits, all of which are common in southern Nigeria, Meek says
(I, vol. I, p. 193), "Among the pagan tribes first cousin marriage
would be regarded as an incestuous union, the cousins being classi-
fied in the relationship system as brothers and sisters." The Angas
used to have head-hunting customs which were associated with
preparation for marriage, and a youth had to prove his manhood by
taking a head. The details of head-hunting among the plateau tribes,
also the occurrence of cannibalism and head-hunting, separately,
or conjointly, are noted by Meek (I, vol. II, p. 48).
The Angas have initiation rites for boys, but these ceremonies
do not necessarily coincide with puberty. The plateau tribes practice
Tribes and Their Cultures 477
circumcision as a principal rite in initiation ceremonies; these rites
require that boys shall be secluded in a sacred spot where they have
to endure beatings and privation (Meek, I, vol. II, p. 86).
In religion the plateau tribes show deification of natural phe-
nomena, animistic beliefs, reliance on prayers made to ancestral
spirits, belief in reincarnation of dead ancestors in infants, and
credence in the reappearance of Dodo, a spirit of the founder of the
tribe, who appears as a masked figure at the initiation of boys.
Additional light is thrown on the cultural traits of the plateau
tribes by perusal of H. F. Mathews' article. Of the language of
the Nungu, Mathews says that a native traveling twenty miles from
his own village would have difficulty in making himself understood,
a statement which again emphasizes the complexity of the linguistic
Women of the Nungu tribe are unclothed, and Mathews (Plate I,
Fig. 2) shows a Nungu woman wearing a nose pin, and a plug in her
lower lip. The rawhide pouch for carrying a baby on the mother's
back is like that worn by women of the Angas tribe. Mathews notes
the use of sacred groves for head-hunting trophies, the presence of
cannibalism, scarification, the use of bows and poisoned arrows,
an iron knife with a ring-grip, the employment of the bull-roarer,
side-blown horns of antelopes, reed pipes, and end flutes. Dancers
wear coarse netting costumes.
Meek's article (II) deals with a group of plateau tribes near
Zaria and among these are the Katab, the Ataka, and the Kagoro.
He notes the following traits: a definite classificatory system of
relationships, with class names; agriculture but no industries; and
ideas of reincarnation with private and public cults of ancestors.
He further observes the presence of head-hunting and the depositing
of heads in the house of skulls, wearing of a buttock ornament
by women, four patrilineal clans each of which is exogamous, and a
territorial grouping that corresponds with the clan grouping; also
taboos on certain animals and plants, but these do not appear to
be closely connected with clan exogamy. Members of the crocodile
clan regard the animal as a brother with whom they can play un-
harmed. Clan members have to bury a dead crocodile, and a taboo
against their touching a piece of crocodile skin is operative.
This collection of evidence bearing on the culture of plateau tribes
indicates that the main traits are those of the Negro culture of
southern Nigeria, but without the elaborate development of Negro
political organization. Among the plateau tribes the classificatory
478 Culture Areas of Nigeria
system of relationships is used, there are initiation rites, ancestor
worship, animism, and many more traits that are closely associated
with Negro culture, but there is an absence of those elements that
are typical of Mohammedan and Mediterranean influences.
Peculiar and distinctive traits of the plateau tribes are the
types of genital covering, ornaments, head-hunting, terraced cultiva-
tion, methods of carrying infants, and other customs that are at
once noticeable as aberrations from those traits which at present
are widely characteristic of Negro culture. But fundamentally
the culture of the plateau tribes is that of Negroes with the existence
of peculiar traits, some of which, for example, terraced cultivation,
are special adaptations to plateau conditions, while others possibly
represent old elements of pre-Negro or early Negro culture.
Geographical and Historical Determinants
The map showing my expeditionary route indicates that the area
visited was situated between the coastal region (4° N. Lat.) and
Tahoua in the southern Sahara (14° N. Lat.).
Chapter I described the gradual transitions from dense forests
of the south, through parkland country to semi-desert, and finally
to true desert at the northward limit of the journey. It is also clear
that these regions of Nigeria are only a part of ecological zones, with
corresponding cultures, which stretch east and west of Nigeria itself.
Between 4° and 6° N. Lat. is situated the densest of the forest
regions, a land of creeks and deltas where heat and moisture combine
to form a congested forest growth. This is the home of the true
Negro and his culture, the traits of which have been analyzed.
After 8° has been passed on the northern journey a noticeable
change occurs in the character of the country, which, in the region
of Bida, for example, is of the parkland variety.
The culture of the Negro gradually gives place to the typical
northern culture comprising all those elements that are grouped
under Mohammedanism, along with many factors of the Medi-
terranean type, and the addition of traits that are associated with
camels, horses, and oxen. But through this northern culture plainly
runs the Negro substratum.
Between the cultures of the north and the south, which are
divided at 9° N. Lat., extends the plateau region, which passes
out of Nigeria westward into northern Dahomey, Togoland, and
Ashanti, and eastward into Cameroon. In the plateau are certain
traits not associated with the Negro culture of southern Nigeria.
Tribes and Their Cultures 479
Between 10° and 12° N. Lat. is a cultural belt characterized by
employment of horses, camels, and oxen. This region extends
westward into the French Sudan and continues to the coast; while
the easterly extension passes across Darfur and Kordofan, thence
through Sennar to the Red Sea.
North of 12° occurs a noticeable thinning of the bush, which has
almost ceased to exist at 14° N. Lat., where only a few prickly
acacias and some coarse grass may be seen. This borderland of the
Sahara stretches through the northern sections of Wadai and Darfur.
Although there is reason to believe that the theories of geo-
graphical determinism have been overemphasized when used to
explain all the cultures of the world, a strong argument exists in
favor of geographical determinism so far as Nigeria is concerned.
The nature of the ecological regions indicates that these have
determined the extent of country over which certain traits could
Each trait has extended and forced its way into a cultural
matrix to which it was a foreign element, neither has the trait
ceased to penetrate until geographical conditions have become
prohibitive. Climatic conditions have determined the possible
aspects of a trait; for example, the gradual transitions from mere
transportation by oxen in the semi-desert to a well-developed
pastoral trait, as among the nomadic Fulani of the parklands.
Geographical determinism has played an important part, not
only in selecting traits and delimiting them, but also in influencing
the historical processes themselves (chapter III). The track across
Africa along the line of Kordofan, Darfur, and the French Sudan has
undoubtedly been a corridor for mass movements, some of which
were probably early Hamitic migrations from the northeast of Africa.
Some incursions have brought cultural and somatic influences
from the civilization of the Nile Valley, while there has been a con-
stant impact of cultural elements and racial characteristics from
Egypt and farther east, along north Africa and across the Sahara.
In the open spaces of northern Nigeria and its lateral extensions
great foci of culture have been established, notably in the bend of
the Niger, also at Sokoto, Katsina, Kano, Zaria, and in Bornu.
In such centers have developed religious creeds, laws, political
organizations, and handicrafts, all of which have ceaselessly spread
to the limits of their adaptability.
The open country of the north has allowed a free movement of
warriors and peaceful immigrants alike, and this northern pressure,
480 Culture Areas of Nigeria
combined with the natural advantages of the forest for the elements
of Negro culture, has tended to restrict the most characteristic traits
of this culture to the densely wooded regions of the south. More-
over, the topography of the plateau belt lying between the forests
of the south and the open parkland and semi-desert of the north,
has preserved early types of Negro culture.
For four centuries European influences have intruded, especially
from the coast, until all native tribes are under political control to
varying degrees. Such native institutions as head-hunting, canni-
balism, secret societies, human sacrifice, and mutilations as punish-
ment, have been prohibited, but not always with success.
Yet despite direct prohibition of some of the factors which are
fundamental to the indigenous culture, there is on the part of the
British government a sympathetic control of an indirect kind through
native rulers and their legal codes, so far as these are compatible
with justice and humanity. European cultural influences have
expressed themselves in a modification of native arts and crafts.
But beneath this veneer of European civilization survives an indige-
nous culture which still flourishes vigorously in many localities.
The collation of factual ethnological material relating to Nigeria
has been considerable, and the importance of this in practical
problems of education and administration is unquestionable. Yet
a new method of approach is open, especially to those who have
the advantage of long and intimate contact with Nigerians.
If anthropological ideals are to be completely fulfilled, inquiries
in Nigeria will now take a closer psychological and social aspect.
Of the structure and operation of ancient tribal standards of conduct
much is known, and indigenous forms of social control are fairly
well understood. But we have no adequate records actually to show
the effect of European education and control on the thoughts and
actions of individuals of various tribes, languages, and cultures
The general effects of European contacts with Nigerian natives
are observable in economic and social life; but a more intimate
psychological study of case records is desirable to give point to
general impressions, which by themselves may be misleading. What
is the life history of individuals, male and female, who pass through
school? Where do they go on leaving school? What have they
learned, and in what way is the knowledge applied? How many
who pass through schools play a useful part in their own society?
And what number drift away to form cheap labor for Europeans?
Tribes and Their Cultures 481
Ethnologists who follow the pages of "Africa" will realize the
importance of problems of adjustment. Administrative difficulties
involve questions of the education of natives with a view to fostering
self-government, the selection of a curriculum, and the adoption of
a vernacular language, to be widely taught and used so as to make
inter-tribal communication possible. Moreover, the problem of
industrial education of a kind which will utilize natural aptitudes
of the Negro is important.
In solving one social problem another of a more serious kind may
be created. When education has been given and assimilated, and
following the adoption of common languages to replace different
dialects, problems of franchise and self-government will arise.
Education and linguistic unity will give a sense of cohesion to tribes
that are not now coordinated.
Welfare work and medical research will lower mortality and
morbidity at all ages among African tribes, with whom Europeans
can never compete numerically. The Nigerian census for 1931
indicates a 7 per cent increase in the native population since the year
1921. The standard of production will be raised through improved
agriculture, animal husbandry, and industrial inventions, so that the
increasing population will not unduly press on the means of
Naturally, therefore, Nigerian administrators will be confronted
with demands for wider political rights, and a claim to autonomous
government will be advanced. The result of present racial contacts,
politically, socially, and industrially, cannot be foreseen. The Negro
is too adaptable and sturdy to decline from purely psychological
causes; moreover, his services are indispensable for the economic
development of tropical Africa. How then will the adjustment be
made between the rival claims of Africans and intruding Europeans?
At present no answer is possible. But administrators know from
experience that the efficiency of adjustment will depend on a sym-
pathetic use of the data derived from historical and ethnological
research. To understand the past is to explain the present, and pure
ethnology will always be a desirable introduction to investigations
of a psychological and sociological kind. Therefore, this report is
presented in the hope that it will prove not only of academic interest
but of practical value to those who are concerned with educational
and administrative work in Nigeria.
La colonie du Niger. Paris, 1927.
Abraham, R. C.
The Grammar of Tiv (Munshi). Kaduna, Nigeria, 1933.
Ainslie, J. R.
Physiography of Southern Nigeria and Its Effect on the Forest Flora. Oxford,
Ajisafe, A. K.
Laws and Customs of the Yoruba. London and Lagos, 1924.
From the Niger to the Nile. 2 vols. New York and London, 1907.
Dubbo-Dubbo, or Notes on Punch and Judy as Seen in Bornu. Man, 1910,
Alldridge, T. J.
Sierra Leone, a Transformed Colony. Philadelphia, 1910.
Allen, W. and Thomson, T. R. H.
Narrative of an Expedition to the River Niger in 1841, under Captain H. D.
Trotter. 2 vols. London, 1848.
Arnett, E. J.
I. The Rise of the Sokoto Fulani. Kano, 1929.
II. The Census of Nigeria, 1931. Jour. Afr. Soc, XXXII, 1933, pp. 398-404.
A New Collection of Voyages and Travels. London, 1745.
Baikie, W. B.
Narrative of an Exploring Voyage up the Niger and Tsadda in 1854. London,
I. "Thunderbolt" Celts from Benin. Man, 1903, No. 102.
II. Origin of West African Crossbows. Jour. Afr. Soc, VIII, 1909, pp. 337-356.
III. Modern Brass Casting in West Africa. J.R.A.I., XL, 1910, pp. 525-528.
IV. Notes on a Collection of Ancient Stone Implements from Ejura, Ashanti.
Jour. Afr. Soc, XII, 1912, pp. 1-16.
V. Ceremonial Paddle of the Kalahari of Southern Nigeria. Man, 1917, No. 44.
VI. Occurrence of "Cleavers" of Lower Palaeolithic Type in Northern Nigeria.
Man, 1934, No. 25.
VII. The Tandu Industry in Northern Nigeria and Its Affinities Elsewhere.
Essays presented to C. G. Seligman, London, 1934.
Banfield, A. W.
Dictionary of the Nupe Language. Shonga, Northern Nigeria, 1914.
Bargery, G. P.
I. A Hausa Phrase Book. Oxford, 1924.
II. Dictionary of the Hausa Language. Oxford, 1933.
Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa. 5 vols. London, 1857.
Many well-indexed references to leather work of Agades, Kano, Sokoto, and
Timbuktu; also weaving and dyeing.
Barton, G. A.
Semitic and Hamitic Origins. Philadelphia, 1934.
Among the Ibos of Nigeria. London, 1921.
The Eastern Libyans. London, 1914.
Batty, R. B.
Notes on the Yoruba Country. J.A.I., XIX, 1889, pp. 160-164.
Die deutsche Niger — Benue Tschadsee Expedition, 1902-3. Berlin, 1904.
Fernando Poo, eine afrikanischen Tropeninsel. Vienna, 1888.
La population musulmane de Tlemcen. Revue des Etudes Ethnographique,
1908, p. 47, Plates XXIV, XXV.
I. Die Erfinder der Eisentechnik. Zeitsch. Ethn., XXXIX, 1907, pp. 335-381,
II. XL, 1908, pp. 45-69, continued in
III. XLII, 1910, pp. 15-30.
IV. Translated into English. Ann. Report Smiths. Inst., Washington, D.C.,
1911, pp. 507-527.
Du Niger au Golfe de Guinee. Paris, 1892.
Boisragon, A. M.
The Benin Massacres. London, 1898.
A New and Accurate Description of the Coast of Guinea. London, 1705. See
also Pinkerton's Voyages and Travels, London, XVI, 1708, pp. 494-525.
Bovill, E. W.
I. The Moorish Invasion of the Sudan. Jour. Afr. Soc, XXVI, 1926, pp.
II. North Africa in the Middle Ages. Jour. Afr. Soc, XXX, 1931, pp. 128-141.
III. Caravans of the Old Sahara. Oxford, 1933.
Boyle, C. V.
Historical Notes on Yola Fulanis. Jour. Afr. Soc, X, 1910, pp. 73-92.
Brackenbury, E. A.
Notes on the "Bororo Fulbe" or Nomad "Cattle Fulani." Jour. Afr. Soc,
XXIII, 1923, pp. 208-217, 271-277.
Braunholtz, H. J.
I. Stone Implements from Nigeria. Geological Survey of Nigeria. Occasional
Papers, No. 4, London, 1926.
II. Notes on Two Pottery Heads from near Fomena, Ashanti. Man, 1934, No. 2.
III. Wooden Roulettes for Impressing Patterns on Pottery. Man, 1934, No.
Gibt es einen hamitischen Sprachstamm? Anthropos, XXVII, 1932, pp.
I. Out of the World North of Nigeria. New York, 1922.
II. Sahara. London, 1926.
Both are popular but useful descriptions of Saharan culture.
Benin und die Portugiesen. Zeitsch. Ethn., XL, 1908, pp. 981-992.
484 Culture Areas of Nigeria
BURDON, J. A.
Fulani Emirates. London, 1909.
Burns, A. C.
History of Nigeria. London, 1929.
Burton, R. F.
Abeokuta and the Cameroons. 2 vols. London, 1863.
Butcher, H. L. M.
Some Aspects of the Otu System of the Isa Sub-tribes of the Edo People of
Southern Nigeria. Africa, VIII, 1935, pp. 149-162.
Reisebilder aus Liberia. 2 vols. Leiden, 1890.
Carthage, Timgad, and Tebessa. Paris, 1909.
Travels through Central Africa to Timbuctoo and across the Great Desert to
Morocco. 2 vols. London, 1830.
Calvert, A. F.
Nigeria and Its Tin Fields. London, 1912.
La region du Tchad et du Ouadai. Paris, 1912.
Cardinall, A. W.
Stone Armlets on the Gold Coast. Man, 1923, No. 106.
I. Mission Chari lac Tchad 1902-1904. Paris, 1905.
II. L'Afrique Centrale Francaise. Paris, 1907.
Journal of a Second Expedition into the Interior of Africa from the Bight of
Benin to Soccattoo. London, 1829.
Clifford, Sir H.
The Story of Nigeria. London, 1924.
Life on the Niger, or the Journal of an African Trader. London, 1862.
Modern Languages of Africa. 2 vols. London, 1883.
History of Dahomey. London, 1793.
Daniel, F. de F.
I. Note on a Gong of Bronze from Katsina. Man, 1929, No. 113.
II. An Agricultural Implement from Sokoto. Man, 1931, No. 47.
III. The Regalia of Katsina, Northern Provinces of Nigeria. Jour. Air. Soc,
XXXI, 1932, pp. 80-83.
Description de l'Afrique. London, 1688.
I. Folk Stories from Southern Nigeria. London, 1910.
II. Ikom Folk Stories from Southern Nigeria. J.R.A.I., Occasional Papers,
No. 3, London, 1913.
Debevoise, M. K. and N. C.
The Vanishing Bazaars of the Near East. The Open Court, XLVIII, Chicago,
1934, pp. 99-115.
Du Congo au lac Tchad. Paris, 1906.
I. Manuel de langue Haoussa. Paris, 1901.
II. Account of the Fulani with Comments by H. R. Palmer. Jour. Afr. Soc,
XIII, 1913, pp. 195-200.
III. The Negroes of Africa. Trans. F. Fligelman, Washington, 1931.
Delattre, R. P.
Carthage Necropole Punique de la colline de Saint-Louis. Lyons, 1896.
Denham, D., Clapperton, H. and Oudney.
Narrative of Travels and Discoveries in Northern and Central Africa in the
Years 1822-1823. London, 1826.
Dennett, R. E.
I. Nigerian Studies, the Religious and Political System of the Yoruba. London,
II. How the Yoruba Count. Jour. Afr. Soc, XVI, 1916, pp. 242-250.
Le plateau central nigerien. Paris, 1907.
Downes, R. M.
The Tiv Tribe (Munshi). Kaduna, Nigeria, 1933.
I. Gliederung der afrikanischen Sprachen — die Pulah Sprachen, Quellen und
Literatur. Anthropos, XX, 1925, pp. 210-220.
II. Kann das Ful als hamitische Sprache gelten? Festschrift, P. W. Schmidt,
Vienna, 1928, pp. 45-60.
Duggan, E. de C.
Notes on the Munshi Tribe of Northern Nigeria. Jour. Afr. Soc, XXXI,
1932, pp. 173-182.
Travels in Western Africa. London, II, 1847, pp. 131, 152, 272.
I. Notes sur Tombouctou. Revue d'Ethnographie et de Sociologie, V, 1914,
II. Industries et principales professions des habitants de la region de
Tombouctou. Paris, 1921.
Dwyer, P. M.
Thunder-stones of Nigeria. Man, 1903, No. 103.
La rout du Tchad au Loango au Chari. Paris, 1893.
Elgee, C. H.
The Evolution of Ibadan. Lagos, 1914.
Ellis, A. B.
The Yoruba-speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast. London, 1894.
Description de l'Afrique septentrionale. Slane's trans., Algiers, 1913.
Falconer, J. D.
Geology and Geography of Northern Nigeria. London, 1911.
Africa, a Social, Economic and Political Geography of Its Major Regions.
London, 1934. Nigeria, pp. 357-369.
486 Culture Areas of Nigeria
FlTZPATRICK, J. F. J.
Some Notes on the Kwolla District and Its Tribes. Jour. Afr. Soc, X, 1910,
pp. 16-42, 213-221.
Fletcher, A. S.
Hausa Sayings and Folk-lore. London, 1912.
Moral Vocabulary of an Unwritten Language (Fulani). Anthropos, XXVII,
1932, pp. 214-248.
Mission saharienne (Foureau-Lamy) d'Alger au Congo par le Tchad. Paris,
Freeman, R. A.
Travels and Life in Ashanti and Jamam. London, 1898, p. 229 (glass work).
I. Der schwarze Dekameron. Berlin, 1910.
II. The Voice of Africa. 2 vols. London, 1913.
III. Atlas africanus. Munich, 1922.
Gaden, H. and Verneau, R.
Stations et sepultures neolithiques du territore militaire du Tchad. L'Anthro-
pologie, XXX, 1920, pp. 513-543.
Gaillard, R. and Poutrin, Dr.
Etude anthropologique des populations des regions du Tchad et du Kanem.
Galway, H. L.
Nigeria in the Nineties. Jour. Afr. Soc, XXXIX, 1930, pp. 221-247.
Geary, Sir W. N. M.
Nigeria under British Rule. London, 1927.
Gennep, A. van
I. L'ornamentation du cuir. Revue d'Ethnographie et de Sociologie, IV,
1913, pp. 200-210.
II. Recherches sur les poteries peintes de l'Afrique du nord. Harvard African
Studies, II, 1918, pp. 235-297.
Afrikanische Wurfeisen und Wurfholzer im Volkermuseum zu Leipzig. Jahrbuch
Stadtisches Museum fur Volkerkunde zu Leipzig, 1922, pp. 41-50.
GlRONCOURT, M. G. DE
L'art ches les Toureg. Revue d'Ethnographie et de Sociologie, V, 1914, pp.
The Metals in Antiquity. J.R.A.I., XLII, 1912, pp. 235-287.
Granville, R. K.
Notes on the Jekris, Sobos, and Ijos of the Warri District of the Niger Coast
Protectorate. J.R.I., I, New Ser., 1898-99, pp. 104-126 (well illustrated).
Les Peuls du Fouta Dialon. Revue des Etudes Ethnographiques et Sociologiques,
II, 1919, pp. 85-105.
Guy, M. C.
Les populations Peuls (Fulani). Revue d'Ethnographie et de Sociologie, IV,
1913, pp. 252-260.
Altertiimer von Benin, im Museum fur Volkerkunde zu Hamburg. Hamburg,
Alte Elfenbeinarbeiten aus Afrika in den Wiener Sammlungen. Vienna, 1899.
Hambly, W. D.
Serpent Worship in Africa. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Anthr. Ser., I, No. 1,
Handbook of Nigeria
Published by the Crown Agents of the Colonies, Milbank, London, 1927, and
Harris, P. G.
I. Notes on Yauri, Nigeria. J.R.A.I., LX, 1930, pp. 283-334.
II. Agricultural and Pastoral Implements, Argangu Emirate, Nigeria. Man,
1931, No. 46.
III. Notes on Drums and Musical Instruments Seen in Sokoto Province,
Nigeria. J.R.A.I., LXII, 1932, pp. 105-125.
Reiseskizzen aus dem Haussalands. Globus, LII, 1887, pp. 346-352; LIII,
1888, pp. 97-101.
Herskovits, M. J.
I. The Cattle Complex in East Africa. Amer. Anth., XXVIII, 1926, pp. 230-
272, 424-528, 630-664.
II. The Culture Areas of Africa. Africa, III, 1930, pp. 59-77.
Herskovits, M. J. and F. S.
Outline of Dahomean Religious Belief. Mem. Amer. Anth. Assn., No. 41, 1933.
Seventeen Years in Yoruba Country. London, 1872.
Hogan, S. J.
The Mohammedan Emirates of Nigeria. Oxford, 1930.
Hooton, E. A.
Benin Antiquities in the Peabody Museum. Harvard African Studies, I, 1917,
Journal of Travels from Cairo to Mourzouk. London, 1802.
Howard, C. G.
Shuwa Arabic Stories. Oxford, 1921.
Hutchinson, T. J.
Impressions of Western Africa. London, 1858.
Travels in Asia and Africa, 1325-1354 (Broadway Travellers Series). Trans.
H. A. R. Gibb, ed. Sir Denison Ross and Eileen Power. London, 1929.
Ibn Haukal (1332-1406)
I. Description de l'Afrique. Slane's trans., Paris, 1842.
II. The Oriental Geography. Trans. Sir W. Ouseley, London, 1800.
Histoire des Berberes. Slane's trans., 4 vols., Algiers, 1852-54, and 2 vols.,
Life of Mahomet. Home University Library, London, 1928.
Jackson, J. G.
An Account of Timbuctoo and Housa. London, 1820.
James, A. L.
The Tones of Yoruba. Bull. Sch. Orient. Stud., London, III, 1923-25, pp.
488 Culture Areas of Nigeria
James, A. L. and Bargery, G. P.
A Note on the Pronunciation of Hausa. Bull. Sch. Orient. Stud., London, III,
Part IV, 1925, pp. 721-728.
The History of the Yorubas. London, 1921.
Johnston, Sir H. H.
I. Bantu and Semi-Bantu Languages. 2 vols. Oxford, 1919.
II. Liberia. 2 vols. New York, 1906. Looms, Figs. 400, 401, p. 1015.
III. The Niger Delta. Proc. Roy. Geog. Soc, X, 1888, pp. 750-761.
Joyce, T. A.
I. Steatite Figures from Sierra Leone. Man, 1905, No. 57; 1909, No. 40.
II. Babunda Weaving. Jahrbuch fur Prahistorische und Ethnographische
Kunst, Leipzig, I, 1925, pp. 105-110.
III. An Ivory Ewer from Benin. Man, 1931, No. 1.
Judd, A. S.
Notes on the Munshi Tribe and Language. Jour. Afr. Soc, XVI, 1916, pp.
Kelsey, F. W.
Excavations at Carthage. London, 1926.
Kennett, B. L. A.
The Afoshi Dancers of Kabba Division, Northern Nigeria. J. R.A.I. , LXI,
1931, pp. 435-442.
KlNGSLEY, M. H.
I. West African Studies. London, 1899.
II. Travels in West Africa. London, 1904.
Die Maguzawa. Archiv. Anthr., XIV, 1915, pp. 288-315.
Kumm, K. W.
From Hausaland to Egypt. London, 1910.
Labouret, M. H.
I. Notes contributives a 1'etude du peuple Baoule. Revue d'Ethnographie
et de Sociologie, V, 1914, pp. 88, 181, 194.
Describes the making of brass weights on the Ivory Coast.
II. L'ethnologie dans l'ouest Africaine, bibliographie sommaire, 1920-1927.
Africa, I, 1928, pp. 240-248.
III. Les tribus du rameau Lobi. Paris, 1931. Archaeology, pp. 17-20.
La prehistoire de l'ouest Africaine. Africa, IV, 1931, pp. 456-465.
Lagos, C. M. S., Bookshop
Many Publications on Nigerian Languages. These include readings, grammars,
and phrase books.
Laird, M. and Oldfield, R. A. K.
Narrative of an Expedition to the Interior of Africa by the River Niger. London,
Lander, R. and J.
Journal of an Expedition to Explore the Course of and the Termination of the
Niger. 2 vols. New York, 1843.
Famous Ivory Treasures of a Negro King. Jour. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist.,
XVIII, 1918, pp. 527-552.
I. Sino-Iranica. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Anthr. Ser., Chicago, XV, 1919.
II. Oriental Theatricals. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Guide Part I, Chicago, 1923.
Leakey, L. S. B.
I. The Stone Age Cultures of Kenya Colony. Cambridge, 1931.
II. The Stone Age Races of Kenya. Oxford, 1935.
Le Herisse, A.
L'ancien royaume du Dahomey. Paris, 1911.
La decouverte des grandes sources du centre de l'Afrique. Paris, 1909.
The History and Description of the Africa of Leo Africanus. Trans. John
Pory, 1600, ed. R. Brown, Pub. Hakluyt Soc, 3 vols., London, 1896.
Leonard, A. G.
The Lower Niger and Its Tribes. London, 1906.
Lindblom, K. G.
The Use of Oxen as Pack and Riding Animals in Africa. Stockholm, 1931.
Ling Roth, H.
I. Benin Customs. Intern. Archiv. Ethnog., XI, 1898, pp. 235-242.
II. Stray Articles from Benin. Intern. Archiv. Eth., XIII, 1900, pp. 194-197.
III. Great Benin. Halifax, England, 1903.
IV. Oriental Silver Work. London, 1910.
V. African Looms. J.R.A.I., XLVII, 1917, pp. 113-150.
VI. Unglazed Pottery from Abeokuta. Man, 1931, No. 246.
Lowie, R. H.
Review on Hypotheses of Frobenius. Current Anthr. Lit., I, 1913, pp. 86-89.
Lugard, Sir F. D.
Expedition to Borgu. 2 vols. London, 1895.
Lugard, Lady F. L.
A Tropical Dependency. London, 1905.
Luschan, F. VON
I. Benin Altertiimern in Stuttgart Museum. Stuttgart, 1901.
II. Eisentechnic in Afrika. Zeitsch. Ethn., XLI, 1909, pp. 23-59.
III. Uber Benin Altertumer. Zeitsch. Ethn., XLVIII, 1916, pp. 307-327.
Macfie, J. W. S.
I. A Jeweller in Northern Nigeria. Revue d'Ethnographie et de Sociologie,
III, 1912, pp. 281-286.
II. A Yoruba Tattooer. Man, 1913, No. 68.
III. Shongo Staffs. Man, 1913, No. 96.
Chiefs and Cities of Central Africa. London, 1912.
MacMichael, H. A.
I. The Tribes of Northern and Central Kordofan. Cambridge, 1912.
II. Brands Used by Camel-owning Tribes of Kordofan. Cambridge, 1913.
A Geographical and Commercial View of Northern and Central Africa. Edin-
Le tissage chez les populations du lac Leopold. Anthropos, XXV, 1930, pp.
490 Culture Areas of Nigeria
Malcolm, L. W. G.
I. Notes on Physical Anthropology of West African Tribes. Man, 1920, No. 60.
II. Short Notes on Soul-trapping in Southern Nigeria. Jour. Amer. Folk-
lore, XXXV, 1922, pp. 219-222.
III. A Note on Brass Casting in the Central Cameroon. Man, 1923, No. 1.
Margoliouth, D. S.
Mohammedanism. Home University Library, London, 1911.
Die Benin Sammlung des Reichmuseums fur Volkerkunde in Leiden. Series
2, No. 7, Leiden, 1913.
Mathews, H. F.
The Nungu Tribe of Nassawara, Northern Nigeria. Harvard African Studies, I,
1917, pp. 83-94.
A Voyage to Sierra Leone. London, 1788.
Maxwell, J. W.
Stone Circles in Gambia. Geog. Jour., XII, 1898, pp. 522-527.
The Moors. London, 1902, pp. 151, 195-198.
Well-indexed references to weaving, dyeing, and other handicrafts of Morocco.
Mecklenburg, Duke of
From the Congo to the Nile. London, I, 1913, p. 93.
Meek, C. K.
I. The Northern Tribes of Nigeria. 2 vols. Oxford, 1925. Iron work of
Angas tribe, I, pp. 150-153; silver wire, I, pp. 156-157; glass at Bida, I,
p. 159; pottery, I, p. 163.
II. The Katab and Their Neighbours. Jour. Afr. Soc, XXVII, 1927, pp. 104,
269, 364; XXVIII, 1928, pp. 43-53.
III. A Sudanese Kingdom. An Ethnological Study of the Jukun-speaking
Peoples of Nigeria. London, 1931.
IV. Tribal Studies in Northern Nigeria. 2 vols. London, 1931.
V. Pot Burial in Nigeria. Man, 1932, No. 160.
VI. Chess in Bornu, Nigeria. Man, 1934, No. 48.
VII. The Kulu in Northern Nigeria. Africa, VII, 1934, pp. 257-269.
VIII. Ibo Law. Essays to C. G. Seligman. London, 1934, pp. 209-226.
Die Sprachen der Hamiten. Hamburg, 1912.
Migeod, F. W. H.
I. The Languages of West Africa. London, 1913.
II. Through Nigeria to Lake Chad. London, 1924.
III. Through British Cameroons. London, 1925.
Magic and Charms of Ijebu Province, Southern Nigeria. Man, 1932, No. 194.
The Yoruba Country. Proc. Roy. Geog. Soc, XIII, Ser. 2, 1891, pp. 577-587.
Notes of a Journey from Lagos to Bida, etc. (1879-80). Proc. Roy. Geog.
Soc, III, Ser. II, 1881, pp. 26-37.
Mockler-Ferryman, A. F.
British Nigeria. London, 1902.
Moloney, Sir A.
Notes on the Yoruba and Lagos. Proc. Roy. Geog. Soc, XII, Ser. 2, London,
1890, pp. 596-614.
MONCKTON, J. C.
Burial Customs of the Attah of Idah. Jour. Afr. Soc, XXVII, 1927, pp. 16-23.
DjennS, une cit6 soundanaise. Paris, 1932.
Morel, E. D.
Nigeria, Its People and Problems. London, 1911.
Sahara und Sudan. 3 vols. Berlin, 1879.
Statuettes en pierre et en argile de l'Afrique occidental. L' Anthropologic,
XXV, pp. 419-443.
Newland, H. 0.
West Africa: A Handbook of Practical Information. London, 1922.
Nicholson, W. E.
I. The Potters of Sokoto. Man, 1929, No. 34.
II. Notes on Pottery at Abuja and Kuta, Niger Province. Man, 1934, No. 88.
III. Bida (Nupe) Pottery. Man, 1934, No. 89.
Niven, C. R.
I. Kano in 1933. Geog. Jour., LXXXII, 1933, pp. 336-343.
II. Some Nigerian Population Problems. Geog. Jour., LXXXV, 1935, pp. 54-58,
Etude ethnographique et anthropologique sur les Teclas du Tibesti. L' Anthro-
pologic, XXX, 1920, pp. 115-135.
Northern Provinces News
Kaduna, Nigeria, quarterly; articles triplicated in English, Hausa, Arabic.
O'Donnell, W. E.
Religion and Morality among the Ibo of Southern Nigeria. Primitive Man,
Washington, D.C., IV, No. 4, 1931, pp. 54-60.
Africa. London, 1670.
Eisengewinnung in vorgeschichtlicher Zeit. Zeitsch. Ethn., XLI, 1909, pp.
Oppenheim, M. F. von
Rabeh und das Tschadseegebiet. Berlin, 1902.
Orr, C. W. J.
The Hausa Race. Jour. Afr. Soc, VII, 1908, pp. 278-283.
Palmer, Sir H. R.
I. Some Asben Records in the Agades Chronicle. Jour. Afr. Soc, IX, 1909,
II. The History of Katsina. Jour. Afr. Soc, XXVI, 1926, pp. 216-236.
III. The White Races of North Africa. Sudan Notes and Records, IX, 1926,
IV. The Occupation of Hausaland in 1900-1904. Lagos, 1927.
V. Sudanese Memoirs. 3 vols. Lagos, 1928.
492 Culture Areas of Nigeria
VI. Gabi Figures (Metal Castings from Jebba Island). Man, 1931, No. 261.
VII. The Tuareg of the Sahara. Jour. Afr. Soc, XXXI, 1932, pp. 153-166,
293-308; XXXIII, 1934, pp. 276-291.
Travels in the Interior of Africa. London, 1799.
Stone' Circles in the Gambia. J.R.A.I., LIII, 1923, pp. 173-228.
I. Yoruba String Figures and Tricks. J.A.I., XXXVI, 1906, pp. 132-141.
II. Notes on the Asaba People (Ibo) of the Niger. J.A.I., XXXVI, 1906,
III. The Efik and Ekoi Tribes of Southern Nigeria. J.R.A.I., XXXVII,
1907, pp. 261-267.
Adamaua. Berlin, 1895.
Peake, H. and Fleure, J.
The Discovery of Metals. In the series Corridors of Time, IV, Oxford, 1927.
Pearse, A. S.
Nigeria. Scientific Monthly, XXVI, 1928, pp. 5-18.
A popular but instructive and well-illustrated article.
The Census of Nigeria, 1931. Africa, VI, 1933, pp. 398-404.
Petrie, Sir W. M. F.
Arts and Crafts in Ancient Egypt. London, 1910.
Pitt-Rivers, G. H. Lane-Fox
Antique Works of Art from Benin. London, 1900.
Preville, A. de
Les societ6s africaines. Paris, 1894.
Rattray, R. S.
I. Hausa Folklore, Customs and Proverbs. 2 vols. Oxford, 1913.
II. Iron Workers of Akpafu, Togoland. J.R.A.I., XLVI, 1916, pp. 431-435.
III. Ashanti. Oxford, 1923.
IV. Religion and Art in Ashanti. Oxford, 1927.
V. Some Aspects of West African Folklore. Jour. Afr. Soc, XXVIII, 1928,
VI. Ashanti Law and Constitution. Oxford, 1929.
VII. Tribes of the Ashanti Hinterland. 2 vols. London and New York, 1932.
Read, Sir C. H.
I. Works of Art from Benin City. London, 1897.
II. Benin Ivory. Man, 1910, No. 29.
Reed, L. N.
Notes on Some Fulani Tribes and Customs. Africa, V, 1932, pp. 422-454.
Reynolds, F. G. B.
I. The Drum of Succession of the Emirs of Fika. Man, 1930, No. 123.
II. The Rock-hewn Wells in Fika Emirate. Man, 1930, No. 156.
Robinson, C. H.
I. Hausaland, or Fifteen Hundred Miles through the Central Sudan. London,
II. Hausa Dictionary. Cambridge University Press, England, 1925.
Rodd, F. R.
People of the Veil (Tuareg of Asben). London, 1926.
Rod well, J. M.
The Koran. Home University Library, London, 1926.
Rohlfs, F. G.
Quer durch Afrika. Leipzig, 1874.
Ross, Sir E. D.
Islam. Benn's Library, XIX, London, 1927.
Uber einige altertumliche afrikanische Waffen und Gerate. Zeitsch. Ethn.,
XLIII, 1911, pp. 240-260.
Sadler, Sir M. E. (editor)
Arts of West Africa. Oxford, 1935, several contributors.
Das Sultanat Bornu. Essen, 1910.
Das Wurfmesser der Neger. Iternl. Archiv. Ethnog., II, 1889, pp. 9-31.
The Hausa Language. Heidelberg, 1906.
Seligman, C. G.
I. Some Aspects of the Hamitic Problem in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.
J.R.A.I., XLIII, 1913, pp. 593-705.
II. The Physical Character of the Arabs. J.R.A.I., 1917, pp. 213-237.
III. The Kababish. Harvard African Studies, II, 1918, pp. 149-151.
Influences of Geographic Environment. London, 1914.
The Mediterranean Race. London, 1901.
Seton, R. S.
I. Installation of an Attah (paramount chief) of Idah. J.R.A.I., LVIII,
1928, pp. 255-278.
II. The Igala Tribe, Northern Nigeria. Jour. Afr. Soc, XXIX, 1929, pp. 42-
Skertchly, J. A.
Dahomey as It Is. London, 1874.
Tunesisches Schattentheatre. Festschrift, P. W. Schmidt, Vienna, 1928, pp.
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Strub, P. E.
Essai d'une grammaire de la langue Kukuruku. Anthropos, X-XI, 1915-16,
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Linguistic Bibliography of Northern Nigeria. Jour. Afr. Soc, XI, 1912, pp.
Handwerk und Industrie in Ostafrika. Kolonialinstituts, Hamburg, 1910.
Sydow, E. von
The Renaissance of Primitive Art in Europe. Africa, I, 1928, pp. 214-218.
494 Culture Areas of Nigeria
Talbot, P. A.
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Temple, C. L.
Notes on the Tribes, Provinces, Emirates and States of Northern Nigeria.
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The African Throwing Knife. J.R.A.I., LV, 1925, pp. 129-145.
Thomas, N. W.
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Note on Stone Circles in Gambia. Man, 1903, No. 93.
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II, fasc. 1, 1932, pp. 23-34.
Adamaua, 413, 416
Agades, 393, 394, 420, 421, 437
Age grades, 452
Agriculture, of Negroes, 450-451 ; irriga-
tion and terracing, 470, 475; see
Maize, Millet, Peanuts, Wheat, Yams
Air, 395, 435; see Asben
Alafin of Oyo, 465
Algeria, 376, 379, 393, 403, 423, 435,
Altar at Benin, 401-403; see Groves,
Amulets, see Charms
Ancestor worship, 432, 455, 469, 476;
see Altar, Kingship, Reincarnation,
Angas tribe, 379, 408, 410, 422, 431,
Angola, 373, 406, 428, 450, 452
Animal husbandry, 451
Animism, 457, 478
Anvil, 408; see Iron
Arabs, 401; as culture carriers, 462-463;
as historians, 387, 392; invasions by,
445; Shuwa, 428, 443; see Koran,
Archaeology, 379-383, 398, 434, 444;
of Ife, 466-468
Architecture, 451, 461
Area of Nigeria, 375
Armenoid type, 389
Armor, chain, 463
Arm rings, 434
Arrows, see Bows
Arts, 399-439; Mohammedan, 460; of
Negroes, 438; and ritual, 407; see
Asben, 388, 389, 394, 407, 434; see Air,
Ashanti, 391, 427, 432-434, 453, 456,
465, 468, 478
Asia, 444; gold supply of, 436; iron-
working in, 405; racial origins in, 443;
see Arabs, Hamites, History, Migra-
Attakka tribe, 474
Awni of Ife, 465
Ax, of stone, 380; sacred, 464, 467
Baby carried in hide pouch, 477
Bagam, Cameroon, 400
Baikie, explorer, 396
Bamenda tribe, Cameroon, 428
Bantu, languages, 447; Negroes, 385
Barbar races, 389
Barber's outfit, 422
Bark cloth, 450
Basketry, 418-420, 450
Battell, Andrew, 406
Bauchi plateau, 375, 379, 383, 388, 394,
397, 446, 473
Baya Seyarum, 422, 428
Bazaars, 462; see Markets
Beads, 432, 437; see Glass, Personal
Beecroft, John, 395, 396
Bello, Sultan of Sokoto, 396
Bellows, 403, 407, 408, 475; see Glass,
Iron, Metals, Silver
Bema tribe, 467
Benin, 376, 380, 391, 395, 401-403, 453;
see Bini, Ivory, Kingship, Metals,
Benue River, 380, 396, 397; see Explora-
Berbers, 445; see Algeria, Morocco
Berom tribe, 475
Bida, 376, 391, 397, 403, 409, 429, 443,
460; glass made at, 432; silver of,
436; wood-carving of, 427
Bilma Oasis, 390, 393, 395, 471; see
Exploration, History, Sahara, Salt
Bini tribe, 426, 443
Biological factors, 378; see Ecology,
Rainfall, Tsetse fly
Black Sea, iron found near, 405
Blacksmith, itinerant, 411; silver-
smiths, 437; see Iron, Metals, Silver
Blood, brothers, 453; covenant, 470;
libations, 380; sacrifice, 403
Bolewa tribe, 389, 419, 464; pottery of,
326; see Potiskum
Bonny River, 376, 392
Borassus palm, 418
Bori dancing, 461; see Demons, Spirits
Bornu, 385, 388, 389, 393, 397, 410,
Bottles, of hide, 422; see Leather
Bows, 410; see Crossbow, Hunting,
Branding of camels, 471
Brass, 403; wire leg ornaments, 437; see
Benin, Bronze, Metals, Personal orna-
British African Association, 393, 395
Bronze, 465; castings in, 400; staffs at
Ife, 467; see Benin, Cire perdu,
Buduma tribe, 397, 410, 411, 428, 464;
baskets made by, 419; language of,
377; see Baya Seyarum, Chad
Bull-roarers, 397, 457, 477
Bulls, for transport, 473; see Fulani,
Bushmen, language of, 444; physique of,
Bussa Rapids, 395
Butter of Fulani tribe, 472; see Shea-
Buzu tribe, 409, 434; see French Niger
Calabashes, 450; see Gourds, Wood-
Camels, 399, 438, 448, 470, 478; history
of in Africa, 471; Kababish, Tibbu,
Tuareg tribes, 471
Cameroon, 375, 376, 385, 410, 428,
Cannibalism, 453, 476
Canoes, 411, 412, 451
Carthage, 382, 464, 467; see Phoenicians
Catfish, sacred, 466
Cattle, 379, 451, 470; Egyptian, 464;
Fulani, 472-473; see Bulls, Oxen
Celts, 379; in agriculture, 381; pulver-
ized and drunk, 381; as "thunder-
bolts," 380; see Archaeology
Census of Nigeria, 481
Chad, Lake, 375, 385, 388, 393, 397,
409, 412, 428, 463, 472; see Baya
Charms, 422, 436, 461; see Personal
Circumcision, 451, 459; see Initiation
Cire-perdu process, 400, 435; see
Classificatory system, 478; see Cross
cousins, Social organization
Climate, 375-378, 472, 478; see Geog-
Cloth, beaten, 414, 417; imported, 474;
stamped with designs, 463; see Dyes,
Indigo, Spinning, Weaving
Clothing, 461; leather, 422; leaves used
as, 474; of plateau tribes, 474; see
Cloth, Leather, Weaving
Congo, 376, 406, 413, 428, 439, 457
Copper, 400, 436, 465, 466; see Metals
Coptic times, 405
Cotton cultivated, 416; see Cloth,
Clothing, Dyeing, Ginning, Spin-
Cowrie shells, 419, 430, 457, 465
Craft guilds, 399, 403, 451; see Benin,
Crete, 463, 464, 467; see Mediterranean
Crocodile, clan, 477; design, 428;
harpooned, 411; society, 452; stone,
Cross cousins, marriage of, 452
Cross River, 380
Culture, areas, 386; foci of, 377, 399;
physique and language, 446-447; see
Daggers, 404, 409
Dahomey, 375, 391, 392, 400, 453, 456,
Dancing, 428, 431, 477
Darfur, 441, 463, 479
Darwin, Charles, 384
Decoy of hunter, 412
Demons, 461 ; see Bori, Spirits
Descent through females, 452
Designs, 404; see Arts, Industries
Diffusion, 405, 436; iron-working, 404-
408; summarized, 438, 468; see
Divination, 458, 476
Djenn6, ancient Sudanese city, 387
Dog, sacrificed, 407, 408, 465
Domestic animals, 378; see Camels,
Cattle, Goats, Horses, Ponies, Sheep
Drums, 430, 431, 458; sacred, 475
Dyes, 412-419; from indigo, 416; pits
for, 417; see Basketry, Leather,
Earth, mother, 456; spirit, 382
Ecological factors, 377, 440, 478
Edo tribe, 386
Egba tribe, 443
Eggs, sacrificed, 458
Egypt, 379, 391, 400, 405; ancient
fishing in, 411; Arab dynasties of,
462; basketry of, 420; boat burial in,
464; fans and umbrellas used in,
469; glass of, 433; leather work of,
420; mummies of, 459; religion of,
456; silver work of, 436; weaving of,
Ekoi tribe, 390, 464
Elevation of Nigeria, 375; see Ecology,
El Mansur, ruler of Morocco, 388; see
History, Morocco, Sahara
Culture Areas of Nigeria
England, 396; see Administration, Euro-
Entertainers, 462; see Dancing, Mar-
kets, Music, Wrestlers
Eshu, devil-stone at Ife, 465
Etruscan influence, 464
European influence, 392, 396, 398-
399, 437, 439, 480; see Exploration,
Fachi Oasis, 395
Fattening of girls, 459
Fellata, 389; see Fulani
Fernando Po, 396
Fika tribe, 379, 463; see Potiskum
Fishing, 411, 451
Flogging ceremony of Fulani, 473
Foci of culture, 479
Folklore, see Mythology
Foureau-Lamy Expedition, 394
French, Equatorial Africa, 397; Niger
Territory, 375, 434; Sudan, 434,
479; see Dahomey, Exploration,
Ivory Coast, Timbuktu
Fulani, 389, 390, 392, 393, 431, 472,
473, 475, 479; cattle of, 472; flogging
ceremony of, 473; language of, 377
Fulas (Fulani), 389
Fulbe (Fulani), 389; see Fellata, Peul
Funerary figures, 380
Furnaces for iron ore, 405; see Glass,
Ga language, 387, 392
Galla tribes, 452, 459
Gambia, 375, 376, 379, 381, 383, 416
Gao, ancient city of, 393
Garments at Kano, 415
Geography of Nigeria, 375-378, 397,
Germany, 396, 435
Ghana, ancient city of, 387, 418
Ginning of cotton, 413, 414, 416
Girdles for women, 474
Goats, hides of, 408, 421, 435; on
plateau, 475; sacrificed, 454
God, ideas of, 455; see Religion,
Gold Coast, 380, 474
Gold, dust, 435; wire, 435
Gourds, 399, 428-430; as musical in-
Grassland area, 376
Great Lakes, 376
Groves, sacred, 397, 456, 465, 477; see
Guilds, for crafts, 399, 407; see Benin,
Bida, Bronze, Glass, Wood-carving
Gulf of Guinea, 376
Guns, muzzle-loading, 410
Gwari tribe, 470
Gwozo tribe, 410, 422, 474
Hair, combs, 427; dressing, 404, 408;
see Barber, Personal ornament
Hamites, 382, 384, 406, 441; age grades
of, 452; culture of, 444, 459; migra-
tions of, 398, 479; physique of, 444
Harpoons, 411, 463
Hausa, 393, 411, 414, 419, 435; culture
470; gourds, 429; language, 377
physique, 443; states, 388, 389
Hides, see Leather
Himyaritic influence, 387
Hippopotamus, hunted, 411; spirit of,
Historical factors, 384-398, 478-479;
Northern Provinces, 390; sequence of,
440, 448; Southern Provinces, 390
Hoe cultivation, 450; see Agriculture
Horses, 399, 438, 448, 461, 470; armor
for, 463; in Egypt, 471; equipment of,
408; hair used, 430, 432
Houses, 475; see Architecture
Human sacrifice, 397, 453, 460
Humidity, see Rainfall
Hunting equipment, 409; see Bows,
Hyksos Dynasty, 391
Ibadan, 376, 415, 462
Ibi, 375, 412
Ibibio tribe, 390
Ibn Batuta, 387
Ibn Edresi, 387
Ibn Khaldun, 387
Ibn Said, 388
Ibo tribe, 385, 386, 390, 443
Idena grove, Ife, 465
Ife, 382, 391, 400, 464, 465; sacred
groves of, 465; wood-carving of, 427
Ijaw tribe, 385, 386, 390, 445, 459
Ilorin, 394, 412, 427, 461, 462
India, 405, 463, 468; cotton spinning of,
Indigo, 468; see Dyeing
Industries, 399-439; summarized, 438;
see Basketry, Bronze, Iron, Leather,
Metals, Pottery, Weaving
Initiation, 397, 451, 476; see Circumci-
Iron, 381, 382, 404-408, 449, 475
Iseyin, 412, 414
Ivory Coast, 400, 402; wooden stools of,
Ivory ornaments, 397, 403, 437, 450
Jekri tribe, 392, 428, 443
Jolas tribe, 381
Jos, town of, 475
Juju house, 380
Jukun tribe, 379, 386, 388, 391, 397,
413, 441, 454, 456, 464
Kababish tribe, 385, 459, 471
Kagoro tribe, 474, 477
Kano, 375, 385, 388, 393, 409, 412,
418, 463, 472; industries of, 399-439
Katab tribe, 477
Katsina, 388, 389, 393, 418
Katsina Ala, 411, 431
Keri-Keri tribe, 389, 422, 443, 474;
language of, 377
King, 386, 453, 454, 476; of Benin, 399;
compound of, 451; officials of, 391;
umbrella of, 469
Kinship, see Avunculate, Cross cousins,
Knives, 408; for throwing, 409-410; see
Iron, Warfare, Hunting
Kohl, 461; see Malachite
Kola nuts, 404, 453, 458, 465, 470
Kongo, 454; see Congo
Koran, 424, 460; see Mohammedanism
Kordofan, 385, 434, 441, 459, 463
Kru tribe, 385, 442
Kuka, 393, 394
Kukawa, 389, 471
Lagos, 376, 394, 461
Laing, Major, 393
Lamps, Carthaginian, 382; pottery, 424
Languages, 377, 384, 386, 398, 446-
449; education and, 481; physique
and, 446; plateau, 474, 477; tones of,
Law, Koranic, 460
Leather, 409, 420-423, 461
Leaves worn, 474
Leo Africanus, 387
Leopard society, 452
Liberia, 442, 457, 466; leather of, 421;
stone figurines of, 380
Libyans, 382, 387, 389, 475
Lip plugs, 475, 477
Lithic remains, see Archaeology
Lokoja, 397, 464
Looms, 450; see Weaving
Magic, see Charms, Groves, Medicine-
man, Rain maker, Religion
Maiduguri, 375, 411, 419, 429, 462, 471
Maize, 450, 470
Malachite, 414, 423
Mandingo kingdom, 387
Mangbetu tribe, 438
Manioc, 418, 450
Maradi, 414, 423
Markets, 418, 419, 424, 462, 463
Marriage, 452, 474
Masai, 452, 472
Masks, 399, 427, 451, 477
Mats, 417; see Basketry, Raffia, Weav-
McGregor Laird, 396
Meat, dried and smoked, 424
Mecca, pilgrimage to, 460
Medical research, 481
Medicine-man, 455, 458
Mediterranean culture, 418, 459, 464-
Melle, Empire of, 387
Mende tribe, 380
Migrations, 378, 382, 384, 397, 436,
444; Islamic, 385; Negro, 390;
summarized, 390; see Asia, Hamites,
Military organizations, 453; see Masai,
Milk, avoided, 451; of camels, 471;
used by Fulani, 472
Millet, 418, 470
Culture Areas of Nigeria
Moat at Benin, 402
Mohammedan influence, 391, 398, 399,
441, 460, 472
Mongonu, near Chad, 422
Monoliths, 382; see Archaeology, Ife
Moors, 461; see Morocco
Morocco, 376, 393, 403; invasion from,
388; leather, 421; slavery in, 453
Mummies, 454, 459, 464
Munshi tribe, 390, 411, 412, 431, 437,
Murzuk, 393, 394
Musical instruments, 430, 462, 477
Mythology, 391, 456, 466
Naraguta, stone enclosures at, 379; see
Nassarawa, 446, 473
Needles, 408; brass, 404; knitting, 414;
for sewing mats, 419
Negro, culture of, 449-459; physique of,
385, 442, 443, 447; see Bantu, Ibo,
Ijaw, Kru, Sudanic
Neolithic age, 381; see Archaeology
Niger River, 375, 382, 386, 393, 395;
Nile Valley, 384, 405; see Egypt
Nilotic tribes, 472; see Sennar, Shilluk
Nomori (stone figures), 380
Northern culture, 469-473
Northern Provinces, history of, 387-
Nose pins, 475, 477
Nuba tribe, 474
Nungu tribe, 477
Nupe tribe, 391, 397, 404, 429, 441,
443; language of, 377
Nyame (Sky God), 381
Nyendael, van, 395
Oath, 476; see Law
Obba of Benin, 401
Ogbomosho, 412, 414, 424, 461; gourds
Ogboni league, 452
Ogowe River, crossbow used at, 410
Oil-palm, 432, 451
Old Calabar, 403
Omens, 435, 476
Oranyan, 392, 465
Ordeal, trial by, 458, 460
Ornament, personal, 432-437, 458; see
Beads, Hairdressing, Scarification
Osiris, crown of, 467
Osteological remains, 444
Ovimbundu, 407, 452, 454, 457; see
Oxen, 376, 472, 478
Oyo, 391, 392, 454, 466
Painting the body, 397
Palaeoliths, see Archaeology
Palm, fiber, 461, 474; oil, 397, 424; see
Basketry, Borassus, Raffia
Pankshin, 408, 422
Papyrus, canoes, 412; other uses of,
Parkland area, 376
Pastoral culture, 472; see Cattle,
Patrilineal clans, 477
Penis sheath, 475
Pepy, King of Egypt, 400
Persia, Arab influence from, 462, 463
Personal ornament, 462; of plateau
tribes, 475; see Beads, Hairdressing,
Silver, Scarification, Tooth-mutila-
Peuls, see Fulani
Phallus, 381, 458
Phoenicians, 381, 386, 435, 464; see
Carthage, Mediterranean influence
Physical types, 386, 398, 442-444
Pigments, 475; see Camwood, Dyes,
Henna, Indigo, Kohl, Malachite,
Plateau tribes, 473-478
Political rights of Nigerians, 481
Ponies used on plateau, 475
Port Harcourt, 376
Portuguese influence, 395, 400, 468; see
Potiskum, 379, 419, 422, 428; pottery
of, 326; see Bolewa, Fika, Keri-Keri
Pottery, 423-426, 450
Priests, 455, 465, 466; see Groves,
Property, bequest of, 472
Psychology, 480, 481
Pumpkins, 464; see Calabashes, Gourds
Punishments, 460; see Law
Python worship, 457
Quivers, see Bows
Racial characters, 442; see Physical
Raffia, 413, 450; see Basketry, Mats,
Rainfall, 375-378, 478; see Climate,
Rain maker, 455, 458, 476; of Fulani,
Ramadan, feast of, 460, 461
Rattles, 430, 431; see Dancing, Musical
Razors, 408; see Barber
Red Sea, 479
Reincarnation, 477; see Ancestor wor-
Religion, 454-456; agriculture and, 450;
art and, 399, 438; of plateau tribes,
477; see Ancestor worship, Animism,
Ax-worship, Benin, Bori, God,
Groves, Ife, Kings, Medicine-men,
Mohammedanism, Priests, Sacrifice,
Shrines, Spirits, Taboos
Rice, 380, 464, 470
Rio de Oro, 393
Roman influence, 461, 463
Royal Niger Company, 390
Sacrifice, 403, 435, 450, 454, 465; dog,
407; human, 397, 453, 460; see
Ancestor worship, God, Groves,
Sahara, 376, 388, 393, 436, 468; camel
culture, 471; see Agades, Asben,
Exploration, Timbuktu, Tuareg
Salt, 435; containers for, 418; mines,
388; see Bilma, Teghaza
Sandals, 421, 428, 461
Sapele, 376, 395, 428
Sara tribe, 419
Sau, or So, tribe, 380
Savannas, 376; see Grassland, Parkland
Scarification, 397, 458, 467, 474
Schools, 399, 401, 480
Secret societies, 451; see Crocodile,
Semantic tones, 377
Semi-Bantu languages, 447
Semites, 385, 398, 445, 453, 462; see
Arabs, Migrations, Mohammedans
Sennar, 463, 473
Seres tribe, 381
Serpents, of bronze, 401; charm against,
422; charmers of, 462; of ivory,
437; kept in groves, 456; skin on
bow, 410; of wood, 428; see Python
Sexual organs mutilated, 459; see
Shango, god of thunder, 379
Shari River, 393
Shehu of Bornu, 389
Sherbro Island, 380
Shields, of Buduma, 410; of Gwozo, 410
Shilluk tribe, 411, 454
Shrines, 457; see Groves
Shuwa Arabs, 377, 446
Sierra Leone, 416, 432, 452; dyeing in,
Signaling with drums, 458
Silver work, 435, 436, 461, 463
Sky god, 381, 456
Slavery, 385, 448, 453; under Islam,
So, or Sau, tribe, 388
Sobo tribe, 443
Social organization, 470, 476 ; of Negroes,
452; see Avunculate, Cross cousins,
Social problems, 480, 481
Sokoto, 390, 393, 411, 418, 429; eleva-
tion of, 375; horses bred in, 471;
pottery of, 425
Songhai, 387, 389; see History
Soul, 455, 464; see Bori, Reincarnation,
Spirits, of dead chiefs, 476; in drums,
458; good and bad, 455; of water, 472
Staffs, of bronze, 400; of wood, 402
Stone, buildings of, 379-381; monu-
ments at Ife, 465, 466; mortars and
rubbers, 380; sacred, 458; see Archae-
ology, Celts, Ife
Stools, sacred, 454; see Wood-carving
Sudanic, empires, 387; languages, 444,
Sweet potatoes, 450
Swords, 409; ceremonial, 401; of silver,
Tahoua, 376, 444, 471
Tanners, see Leather
Tattooing, 461; see Painting, Scarifica-
Technology, see Arts, Industries
Teda tribe, 395
Teeth, mutilated, 458
Teghaza, salt mines of, 388
Terraced hillsides, 470, 475
Terra cotta, 465, 466; see Pottery
Textiles, see Dyeing, Spinning, Weaving
Throwing-knife, 409, 438, 463
Tibbu tribe, 390
Timbuktu, 375, 385, 387, 393, 418, 421
Tobacco, of Angas tribe, 475; horns for,
422; pipe, 408
Culture Areas of Nigeria
Tools, see Industries
Topography, 473; see Geography, Rain-
Traders, diaries of, useful, 397; see
Trees, sacred, 458
Tripoli, 393, 394, 453, 468
Tsetse fly, 378, 472
Tuareg, 387, 388, 407, 421, 434; see
Agades, Asben, Buzu, Timbuktu
Turban, 414, 461
Turkana tribe, 411
Uganda, 432, 454; python worship in,
Umbrellas, 401, 469; sacred, 468
Umbundu, 458; see Angola, Ovimbundu
Uncle, maternal, 452; see Social organi-
Vegetation zones, 375-378
Victoria, Cameroon, 380; Nyanza, 384;
see Great Lakes
Vogel, explorer, 389, 394
Wadai, 389, 394
Warfare, 377, 397, 446, 463; equipment
for, 412; Hamitic, 445; horses used
Weapons, 463; see Daggers, Knives,
Shields, Spears, Swords, Hunting,
Weaving, 412-418, 450
Weirs for fishing, 451
Welfare work, 481
Whipping, see Flogging, Sennar
Wizards, 458; see Medicine-man, Ordeal
Women, 477; crouch to men, 475; in
king's court, 454; see Clothing, Cross
cousins, Marriage, Personal orna-
ment, Social organization
Wood-carving, 399, 403, 426-430, 450
Worship, see God, Groves, Medicine-
man, Priests, Religion, Sacrifice,
Wrestling, 458, 462
Wukari, 391, 397; see Jukun
Yams, 418, 450
Yola, 380, 394, 446, 473
Yoruba, 386, 391, 404, 414, 429, 441,
456, 468; cultural mixture, 385;
language of, 377; pottery of, 424
Zaria, 388, 446, 473
Zinder, 376, 428, 471-473
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate XCIII
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate XCIV
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate XCV
WRITING TABLET AND POTTERY
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate XCVI
POTTERY OF THE YORUBA, ILORIN AND ISEYIN
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate XCVII
MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS AND FOOD VESSEL
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate XCVIII
BEATEN BRASS WORK, NUPE TRIBE, BIDA, AND BUDUMA, LAKE CHAD
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate XCIX
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate C
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CI
IMPLEMENTS, PADDLES, AND WEAPONS
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CIV
MAKING POTTERY, OGBOMOSHO
Fig. 1. Polishing pot with pebble. Fig. 2. Firing insides of pots
i ' v v Ink -
% ■ ^ "^^
it. s f
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CVI
0**Pt "} t~% 1(^
POTTERY INDUSTRY, KANO
Fig. 1. Base of pot completed. Fig. 2. Baked pots
HH 1 1
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CVIII
WINDING AND WEAVING COTTON, ISEYIN
Fig. 1. Winding. Fig. 2. The weavers' shed
ou2J*~D0 b , u> v >
Field Museum of Natural His tory
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CIX
DYEING CLOTH, ISEYIN
Fig. 1. Old woman in charge of dye pots. Fig. 2. Finished cloth dyed with indigo
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CX
v^p^n ' u
MAKING CLOTH, KANO
Fig. 1. Beating cloth on log. Fig. 2. Indigo dye pits in market
Field Museum of Natural History Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CXI
Fig. 1. Male weaver, Kano. Fig. 2. Yoruba girls, Ilorin, wearing cloth made by natives
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CXII
MAKING BASKETS, KANO
Fig. 1. Basket-maker's booth. Fig. 2. Making coiled basketry
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CXIII
Fig. 1. Ibo men building house, Onitsha. Fig. 2. Mat made by Nupe, Bida
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CXIV
Fig. 1. Oven for roasting skewers of meat. Fig. 2. Sword-makers
oS£<>^ , , UJO ( ^ ^
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI. Plate CXV
Fig. 1. School of handicrafts. Fig. 2. Obba under state umbrella
^KSm Of \LUHWS
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CXXIII
3 "7«*^otUO 4
TWO YORUBA TYPES, OGBOMOSHO
irasE InSf EUA
; : ^^0*~^i
Field Must'iim of Natural Histpry
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CXXX
Fig. 1. Two principal dancers. Fig. 2. Chief instrumentalists with drum and horns
II ■ ■
— — J
FULANI, NEAR SHENDAM
Fig. 1. Flogging ceremony. Fig. 2. Female spectators of ceremony
qI£&-\ SV&j 3> ^
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CXLIII
BUDUMA TRIBE, BAYA SEYARUM, LAKE CHAD
Fig. 1. Papyrus reed canoe. Fig. 2. Fighting behind shields
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CXLIV
NEAR LAKE CHAD
Fig. 1. Buduma traders with natron, Baya Seyarum. Fig. 2. Ox of chief, Kukawa
oJiGH^lSOW) G? V^5
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI. Plate CXLV
TRANSPORT BY OXEN
Fig. 1. In Kano market, Nigeria. Fig. 2. At Maradi, French Niger Territory
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CXLVI
IN FRENCH NIGER TERRITORY
Fig. 1. Buzu, Maradi. Fig. 2. Building a house, Tahoua
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology. Vol. XXI, Plate CXLVII
PROFESSIONAL WRESTLERS, TAHOUA
Fig. 1. The group. Fig. 2. The match
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CXLVIII
Fig. 1. Barber shaving boy's head, Ogbomosho. Fig. 2. Woman dressing hair, Iseyin
Field Museum of Natural History - . Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CLI
HUNTING AND PERSONAL ORNAMENT
Fig. 1. Munshi hunter, Katsina Ala. Fig. 2. Woman, Tahoua, French Niger Territory
Field Museum of Natural History
•=ft 7 AY?
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CLTV
BENIN AND IFE
Fig. 1. Priests in charge of sacred grove, Ife. Fig. 2. Old moat, Benin
o&=&oob t 6y3
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CLV
Fig. 1. Sacred white crocodile, Ibadan. Fig. 2. Grove, Ife, sacred to Ogun, patron of blacksmiths
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CLV1I
SACRED GROVE, IFE
Fig. 1. Priests opening box of terra cotta heads. Fig. 2. Close view of heads
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CLVIII
INTERIOR OF TEMPLE OF GOD OF THUNDER, IBADAN
ag&iyob L* y&
Field Museum of Natural History
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CLIX
Fig. 1. General view. Fig. 2. Old city wall and gateway
oJZFt 10 b
Field Museum of Natural History
wf=f ~>0/?<' , ($ ^3
Anthropology, Vol. XXI, Plate CLX
Fig. 1. School in market, Kano. Fig. 2. Emir of Fika with British staff of office