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Object Name: Female puppet with mortar and pestle
Place of Origin: Nigeria
Cultural Group: Ibibio peoples
Materials Used: Wood, pigment, and beads
Dimensions: H: 33cm, W: 14.5 cm, D: 16.5 cm (H: 12.9 in, W: 5.7 in, D: 6.4 in)
Credit line and Accession Number: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of the Wellcome Trust. X67.606
The Ibibio tell of Akpan Etuk Uyo, who traveled to the land of the dead and witnessed the art of puppetry; when he returned to the land of the living, he taught it to humankind.
This appealing female puppet may represent a young wife or daughter. Visitors to Delta villages are likely to see women using mortars to prepare food. We can only guess how this activity might have figured into the plot of the performance in which this character appeared.
Source: Cameron, Elisabeth L. (1996) “Isn’t S/He a Doll?”, Los Angeles, UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History. page 12
Source: Anderson, Martha G. and Peek, Philip M. ed. (2002): “Ways of the Rivers: Arts and Environment of the Niger Delta” Los Angeles, UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History. page 291