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2019LG02-C005-0459.tif (102.54 MB)

Nakiru Lopwenya making a pair of child's shoes from cow skin

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posted on 2023-11-30, 18:55 authored by Samuel DerbyshireSamuel Derbyshire
Having buried a piece of cow hide the previous day, Nakiru uncovers it and cuts out the rough shapes of two shoes. As Loura, her husband, works on a spear hide cover using pieces form the same hide, she crafts the soles of a pair of shoes.

Funding

Endangered Material Knowledge Programme

History

Session

C005

Rights owner

Samuel Frederick Derbyshire

Cultural group

Turkana

Participants

Margaret Nakiru Lopwenya , Loura Echuman Ekaale, Ekale Anam Lomekiniya

Country

Kenya

Place

Morusipo, Turkana

Item/object

Cow skin shoes (ngamuk)

Techniques of production

Cut-cut

Materials

Skin-cow skin

Materials alt

Eleu a aite

Cultural context/event

General production

Social group setting

Craftspeople working together

Location

Home

Temporality

Although once ubiquitous throughout Turkana, animal skin shoes are no longer worn by the vast majority of the population in Turkana, having disappeared from daily use throughout the second half of the 20th century when hard strips of old rubber tyre came to be regularly repurposed and crafted into shoes. Nevertheless, cow skin shoes remain a fundamental component of the asapan initiation ceremony, in which a pair are crafted when the initiate reaches the home of his asapan father and gives away all of his clothes and possessions. Similarly, cow skin shoes continue to play a central role in the akinyonyo ceremony (a female rite of passage performed shortly before marriage), where the natal and the marital homestead each provide a single cow skin shoe for the soon-to-be bride. Thus, in the present day those with the knowledge and ability to craft cow skin shoes tend only to deploy this particular skill in ritual/ceremonial contexts.

Date of creation

2020-04-19

Unique ID

2019LG02-C005-0459

Usage metrics

    Endangered Material Knowledge Programme

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