Referencing the emakuk of Silale Kuom, which was given to the Apprehending Asapan team in order to show other craftsmen, Esuruon continues fashioning his own emakuk. After uncovering it from its burial place, he continues chipping away at it, hewing out the shape of a broad emakuk. He then begins cutting and scoring a length of goat skin, which he will use to construct the handle. When ready, he makes a fire and places his spear into it to heat up the lower metal segment. He then uses this hot metal to burn holes into the legs at an appropriate height to thread through the hide handle. When complete, he threads the hide through and ties it. He then scrapes the surface of the headrest/stool to make it smooth and applies a layer of animal oil to finish.
Rights ownerSamuel Frederick Derbyshire
ParticipantsEsuruon Komolo Lomosia
Techniques of productionBound, Cut-chip-cut, Cut-chip-cut
Social group settingCraftsperson at work alone
TemporalityThe emakuk form was once fairly common throughout the Turkana region, this is clear from numerous historical photographs in UK collections and the accounts of elders who remember their construction and use. However, at some point in the middle of the 20th century, this form of headrest/stool gradually began to diminish in popularity. It is clear, for example, in photographs taken by Sir Wilfred Thesiger in the early 1960s, that emakuk stools/headrests were very uncommon by that time (although still owned by some). In the present day, the emakuk form has all but disappeared. The predominant style of ekichielong (headrest/stool) is now a single footed, round based and wide seated stool (this form is indeed common across both Pokot and Turkana communities in the north of Kenya). It remains unclear as to why the emakuk went out of use (it was not for lack of materials) and what relationship it had to another much older form of ekichielong often referred to in the present day as ‘aporokocho’ (this was a two legged stool/headrest, whose legs were tightly bound together with hide and whose seat was much smaller than that of contemporary ekichielong stools/headrests). Prior to this occasion, Esuruon Lomosia had never made an emakuk, but he had witnessed their construction on numerous occasions in his youth.
Date of creation2020-06-11