shrine paddle

Carved paddle, crocodile shaped handle.

Peoples of the Niger Delta in southern Nigeria, like the Ijo and Itsekiri made ornately carved, non-functional paddles for shrines dedicated to water spirits. Such paddles were sometimes carved with images of water spirits in the form of crocodiles, lizards and pythons. However, ornamental paddles like this one were probably made for sale to Europeans. Niger Delta groups had contacts with European traders going back centuries.

Collection Information

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