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2019LG02-C004-0401.tif (102.55 MB)

Loura Ekaale making a spear (akwara) from elim

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posted on 2023-11-30, 18:55 authored by Joseph Ekidor Nami
Having cut and prepared branches from an elim tree, Loura begins carving them into spear shafts with assistance from Ekori. Throughout the day, the two men try different spear heads with different pieces of wood, before long they settle on an arrangement that works.

Funding

Endangered Material Knowledge Programme

History

Session

C004

Rights owner

Samuel Frederick Derbyshire

Cultural group

Turkana

Participants

Loura Echuman Ekaale, Ekori Akwarangimoe Lomanat

Country

Kenya

Place

Morusipo, Turkana

Item/object

Spear (akwara)

Techniques of production

Carved, Cut-chip-cut

Materials

Wood-persimmon (Diospyros scabra)

Materials alt

Elim

Cultural context/event

General production

Social group setting

Craftspeople working together

Location

Home

Temporality

The construction of spears has long been an integral component of daily life in Turkana, and a skill that most adult men possess. In the deeper past, spears would have been constructed on a far more regular basis, up until the 1960s-70s most men would carry two spears on their person when moving about the landscape. In more recent years, the construction of spears has become less common in line with their declining ubiquity in everyday mundane activities (and the proliferation of semi-automatic weapons). Nevertheless, they remain integral to asapan, and a variety of other important rituals and ceremonies. The metal spear components utilised on this occasion were purchased from Lodwar and probably initially came from Samburu communities in Maralal. Far from reflecting any recent transformation in the production of spears in Turkana, this articulates a long history of trade and exchange with external, metal producing communities. Throughout history, Turkana communities have never produced metal locally, relying instead on variety of neighbouring populations for this commodity. Moreover, the purchase of spear heads and bases from Lodwar has long been a common activity, most probably dating back to Lodwar’s emergence as a regional administrative centre during the early colonial era.

Date of creation

2020-03-02

Unique ID

2019LG02-C004-0401

Usage metrics

    Endangered Material Knowledge Programme

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