412.22 Whirling aerophones


Many of these oro appeared in the fairly recent market disturbances which broke out between the Igbo and the Yoruba. They were described indignantly in the Igbo press as belligerent weapons. Certainly in the old days they portended every sort of evil, including poisoned arrows. They are very simply constructed. A very light flat piece of wood is tied to the end of a narrow string which is sometimes attached to a stick. This is whirled round the head and makes a loud whooshing sound. The pitch can be varied by varying the length of the piece of wood, and the speed at which it is whirled. The bull roarer is rapidly losing its superstitious significance, being used as a toy, and also to frighten baboons off the plantations, at which task it is a great success.

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

If you have any further information about objects in our collections or can suggest corrections to our information, please contact us: enquiry@horniman.ac.uk