Drums and Shadows, by Georgia Writer's Project, , at sacred-texts.com
1. BURIAL AT HOME
1a Basden says of the Ibo: "The desire of every Ibo man and woman is to die in their own town or, at least, to be buried within its precincts. For a long period it was very difficult to persuade a man to travel any distance from his native place, and if he were in need of medical assistance an Ibo would seldom agree to go from home in spite of assurances that he would be able to have better treatment elsewhere. in case of death occurring at a distance, if it can be done at all, the brethren will bring the body home for burial. It may be that this cannot be done for several days, according to distance and other circumstances."
Among the Ibos of Nigeria, pp. 115-16.
1b Bosman says of the coast of Guinea: "The Negroes are strangely fond of being buried in their own Country; so that if any Person dies out of it, they frequently bring his Corpse home to be buried, unless it be too far distant."
Description of the Coast of Guinea, p. 232.
1c Meek says of Nigeria: 'When a man dies at a distance from his home his body is always taken back, when possible, to his home, wrapped up in mats covered by a cloth and placed on a bier or cradle, which is carried on the shoulders of his relatives. The reason assigned for this is that the dead must not be severed from the company of other ancestors--they should be buried close to their living descendants on whom they are dependent for nourishment. Moreover, it is important that the ritual traditional to the kindred should be carried out accurately. This cannot be done by strangers."
Law and Authority in a Nigerian Tribe, p. 309.
1d Nassau says of the Bihe country: "It is considered essential that a man should die in his own country, if not in his own town, On the way to Bailundu, shortly after leaving Bihe territory, I met some men running at great speed, carrying a sick man tied to a pole, in order that he might die in his own country."
Fetichism in West Africa, p. 228.
2. BURIAL OF SECTIONS OF BODY
2a Burton says of Gelele: "Amongst the Egbas and various tribes of the Congo family . . ., various small parts of the body are brought home to be reinterred."
A Mission to Gelele, King of Dahome, II, 165.
2b Ellis says of the Gold Coast: "Toh-fo, 'one lost' is a ceremony held when a person has met with death, and the body has either been destroyed or cannot be found; for instance, when a man has been burned to death and the body reduced to ashes, or when one has been drowned and the body cannot be recovered. . . . In the case of a man destroyed by fire, some of the ashes of the burned body, or of the house in which it was consumed, are placed in the coffin with similar ceremonies.
"In this ceremony a fragment of the corpse is always interred if possible; and, if no portion of it can be found, some earth, water, or other substance from the locality in which the death occurred."
The Tshi-Speaking Peoples of the Gold Coast of West Africa, p. 223.
3. BURIAL OF RELATIVES AND STRANGERS
3a Pearce says of West Africa: "There is a strong feeling of kinship in Africa and only relatives may be buried in the same piece of ground together."
(Interview with John Pearce of Hinesville, Ga., an ex-missionary in West Africa.)
4a Beckwith says of Jamaica: "A baby born with a caul has the power to see duppies without the duppies' harming him. Parkes was born with a caul and attributed his frequent visions of ghosts to this circumstance."
Black Roadways, p. 57.
4b Herskovits says: "Born with a caul is significant in Dahomey, West Africa, Dutch Guiana, Jamaica, and probably everywhere among the New World Negroes."
From correspondence dated October 10, 1938.
4c Peterkin says: "Animals have 'second sight' and can see spirits, but only people born with cauls over their faces have this keen vision."
Roll, Jordan, Roll, p. 206.
4d Beckwith says: "The caul is also connected with sympathetic magic of a healing, rather than an injurious kind. It should be removed and carefully parched over a hot brick and a bit put into the baby's tea to prevent convulsions due to the irritation of a ghost."
Black Roadways, p. 57.
4e Herskovits says of Haiti: "A child born with a can] is believed to be strong in combating all evil spirits. The caul is dried and reduced to powder, and the infant is given some of the powder in water two or three days after birth."
Life in a Haitian Valley, p. 95.
4f Herskovits says of Dahomey: "A child born with a caul--'with a veil over its face'--who follows the first child after twins, is called, if a boy Wusu^, if a girl Wúmé. The child born after such a one is called Wu^sâ or Wuhwê, according to sex. If the child with the caul does not follow the first child born after twins, then the names given are Kesu^ or Kesî; the child who follows one of these is called Kesâ, if a boy. No special name is given a girl born immediately after a child with a caul."
Dahomey, I, 264.
5. CHARMS, MADE OF ANIMALS, INSECTS
5a Herskovits says of Dahomey: "Thus from the earth, from trees and shrubs, from rocks, and from the bodies of animals and humans the Dahomean obtains materials for his gbo^, while from the Azizą̆· and other spirits of the forest, from Lεgbá, the Fá Group, Dą, and the Great Gods, he obtained knowledge of how to endow them with effective power."
Dahomey, II, 287.
5b Leonard says of West Africa: "These are procured from or made with the spines of certain animals, porcupines more especially, compounded with potash, iron filings, and other inorganic
matters, which are reduced to a powder. In this form they are supposed to be communicated invisibly with such celerity and exactness against a person, that blood poisoning supervenes."
The Lower Niger and Its Tribes, p. 500.
5c Melville and Frances Herskovits say of the Paramaribo Negro: Fiofio, as envisaged in this belief, is the name of an insect and also of a spirit which, taking the shape of this insect, enters human bodies, causing illness and sometimes death. It comes as a result of family quarrelling which does not end in reconciliation. Strictly speaking, it is the extending of gestures of friendship or intimacy at a later date, when the bitterness of the quarrel has either passed or is masked, which brings on the illness. Such gestures of intimacy or friendship include accepting food that is offered, or a caress, or borrowing some kind of wearing apparel, or asking and receiving any other favor, and the resulting illness comes to either one or both of the persons who had participated in the quarrel."
Suriname Folk-Lore, p. 53.
6. CHARMS, COUNTER
6a Farrow says of the Yoruba: "The power of 'medicine' (ogun) exercised through a certain channel may be neutralised or overcome by a superior power of ogun through another channel. Van Gennep tells us that in Madagascar fady (the local name for 'taboo') may be broken by one who has a higher power known as hasina. So in Yoruba, a stronger 'medicine' is employed to overcome, or counteract, an evil one, or a curse incurred through a broken ewo ('taboo'). This is the explanation of the use of 'charms,' whether material (as amulets), vocal, or actionary. It is the invocation of a higher power, or a fuller measure of the same power."
Faith, Fancies and Fetich, p. 121.
6b Herskovits says of Dahomey: "Súkpíkpa^, brings danger to another. a. This gbo^ is essentially a 'counter' against sorcery. Actually, it demonstrates the principle which will be developed at greater length in the succeeding pages, that the line between good magic and bad magic is difficult to determine, since evil can be done by a charm otherwise good, if it is directed toward an evil end, and good by an evil charm, if properly handled. This gbo^ is called agbá̧ngba 'outside'--and consists of a piece of wood first split in two, and then, after the ingredients are placed between the pieces, tied together with cord and fastened by passing the end through, and tying but not knotting it. One end is colored green. If a man who is strong in magic power is angry with the owner,
and it is deemed likely that an attempt may be made to kill him with magic, the owner takes this charm, inserts it in the ground near his house, puts a stone on top of it and the evil magic is thereby not only prevented from becoming effective, but any evil attempted will rebound on him who has sent it."
Dahomey, II, 269.
6c Melville and Frances Herskovits say of Dahomey: "No matter how strong the magic, somewhere there is stronger magic which not only can overcome it, but may, in certain cases, turn back its effect on the person who invoked the original magic. This is true not only of evil charms, but of protective ones as well. Thus, we have in lengthy detail, information concerning a charm which a man buries in his field to protect it. Against this there is an evil 'counter' which will not only allow its user to steal from the field, but brings evil on the rightful owner. Against this bad magic there is, in turn, an elaborate 'counter-counter,' which brings the thief to book."
An Outline of Dahomean Religious Belief, p. 65.
7. CHARMS, FOOT-TRACK
7a Puckett says of the Gold Coast: "On the Gold Coast it is believed that a man may be harmed by a 'medicine' made from the dust picked up from his foot-tracks . . ."
Folk Beliefs of the Southern Negro, p. 220.
8. CHARMS, GENERAL
8a Brown says of the Bantu tribes: "As the Bechuana believe that no misfortune befalls one naturally, but is always the effect of malevolence on the part of the living or the dead, so they also strongly believe that good fortune can only be maintained by means of charms."
Among the Bantu Nomads, p. 137.
8b Ellis says of the Ewe of West Africa: "Magic powders are very numerous. One kind, when blown against a door or window, causes it to fly open, no matter how securely it may be fastened; another, when thrown upon the footprints of an enemy, makes him mad; a third, used in the same way, neutralizes the evil effects of the second; and a fourth destroys the sight of all who look upon it.
"Magic unguents (iro) are not uncommon. They and the powders are obtained from the priests, and must be rubbed on the body of
the person who is to be influenced by them. Some are believed to compel a man to lend money, but their more common property is to constrain the unwilling fair to listen favourably to the amorous proposal."
The Ewe-Speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West Africa, p. 94.
8c Herskovits says: "In Dahomey magic charms are sold by professional workers of magic."
Life in a Haitian Valley, p. 31.
8d Herskovits says of Dahomey: "Magic charms form another type of personal property. As has been noted, these charms, which include herbs and other medicines, are held by tradition to have been revealed chiefly to hunters in the bush. When a hunter had learned how to make a given charm, or had been taught how to use a certain leaf to cure some disease, this knowledge was then his property and had salable value. When he was sought out for a charm to achieve a specific purpose--to protect a man on a journey, or to make of him a successful trader, or to insure the death of an enemy--if the hunter detailed the contents of the charm, how to put the ingredients together, the situation in which it would become effective and any formulae necessary to set it in operation, this knowledge then became the property of the purchaser as well as the vender. . . . To the professional dealers in charms, then, these comprise a stock in trade that is their property and potential wealth; for others, while the charms they own are property, they do not represent a source of income."
Dahomey, I, 81-82.
8e Kingsley says of West Africa: "Charms are made for every occupation and desire in life-loving, hating, buying, selling, fishing, planting, travelling, hunting, etc."
Travels in West Africa, p. 448.
8f Melville and Frances Herskovits say of the Suriname Negro: "That is, people are spoken of as 'buying luck' or 'wearing luck,' and comments are heard about the importance of carrying one's 'luck' when walking alone at night, when going on a journey, when wooing a woman, or seeking work, or combating the effect of black magic."
Suriname Folk-Lore, p. 99.
8g Nassau says of the Gabun territory: "For every human passion or desire of every part of our nature, for our thousand necessities or wishes, a fetich can be made, its operations being directed to the attainment of one specified wish, and limited in power only
by the possible existence of some more powerful antagonizing spirits."
Fetichism in West Africa, p. 85.
8h Talbot says of the Ibibio tribes: "Ibokk are, for the most part, made for defensive purposes, for protection against ill-wishers or evil messengers, but are sometimes procured from 'doctors' to harm an enemy."
Life in Southern Nigeria, p. 21.
8i "There is what may be termed a 'white art' as well as a 'black art,' and the great majority of fetiches and charms are intended to protect from evil, and not to attack innocent folk."
The Geographical Journal, XXXI, 607.
9. CHARMS, GRAVEYARD DIRT
9a Pearce says of West Africa: "Juju bags containing graveyard dirt and other material which had had a spell put upon it by juju are effective for either good or evil purposes. A bag of this sort worn around the neck, as a Catholic wears a scapula, serves as a protection from the spells of enemies. However, if a man wishes to work evil on his enemy, he may purchase a juju bag containing evil powder, and through it cast a spell on his enemy."
10. CHARMS, HAIR AND NAILS
10a Ellis says of the Ewe: "Hence it is usual for pieces of hair and nails to be carefully buried or burned, in order that they may not fall into the hands of sorcerers; and whenever a king or chief expectorates, the saliva is carefully gathered up and hidden or buried."
The Ewe-Speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West Africa, p. 99.
10b Meek says of the Jukun: "Sorcerers also capture and injure or kill souls in a variety of ways, notably by acting on the hair, nail-parings or excreta of a person, the soul substance being regarded as immanent in these. If a person wishes to injure another he has merely to obtain a piece of his enemy's nails and hand them to a sorcerer, who, if he knows his work, will speedily cause the death of the former owner of the nail-parings. For this reason a Jukun always hides or buries his hair and nail cuttings. Some Jukun burn these, but others would refrain from doing this on the ground that the burning would cause a scorching of his soul."
A Sudanese Kingdom, p. 298.
10c Milligan says of the Mpongwe: "The parings of fingernails, the hair of the victim and such things are powerful ingredients in these 'medicines.' An Mpongwe, after having his hair cut, gathers up every hair most carefully and burns it lest an enemy should secure it and use it to his injury. When sickness continues for a length of time they usually conclude that some offended relation has caused an evil spirit to abide in the town."
The Fetish Folk of West Africa, p. 39.
10d Nassau says of the Bantu: "So fearful are natives of power being thus obtained over them, that they have their hair cut only by a friend; and even then they carefully burn it or cast it into a river."
Fetichism in West Africa, p. 83.
10e Nassau says of the Benga, the Mpongwe, and the Fang: "If it be desired to obtain power over some one else, the oganga must be given by the applicant, to be mixed in the sacred compound, either crumbs from the food, or clippings of finger nails or hair, or (most powerful!) even a drop of blood of the person over whom influence is sought. These represent the life or body of that person."
Fetichism in West Africa, p. 83.
10f Nassau says of the Banita region: "Sitting one day by a village boat-landing in the Banita region, about 1866, while my crew prepared for our journey, I was idly plucking at my beard, and carelessly flung away a few hairs. Presently I observed that some children gathered them up. Asking my Christian assistant what that meant, he told me: 'They will have a fetich made with those hairs; when next you visit this village, they will ask you for some favor, and you will grant it, by the power they will thus have over you."
Fetichism in West Africa, p. 83.
10g Nassau says of the West Coast natives: "Lately a fellow missionary told me that in a conversation with certain natives, professed Christians, they admitted their fear lest their nail-clippings should be used against them by an enemy, and candidly acknowledged that when they pared their nails they threw the pieces on the thatch of the low roof of their house."
Fetichism in West Africa, p. 104.
10h Talbot says of the Ibibio tribes: ". . . witches and wizards try to obtain hair, nail-clippings, or a piece of cloth long worn by the person whom they desire to injure."
Life in Southern Nigeria, p. 65.
10i "Ekanem, witness for prosecutor, stated on oath: 'I remember Ofuo Afaha Eke telling me that Tomkpata had come to his mother in a dream and cut off some of her hair. So next day she went to him and said that he must restore her soul.' Ofuo Afaba Eke, sworn, stated: 'Tomkpata is my elder brother, I complained to him that my mother had dreamed a dream in which she saw him cut off her hair with scissors. From this we knew that he was trying to snare her soul.'"
Life in Southern Nigeria, p. 122.
11. CHARMS AND BAD LUCK SIGNS, HOUSE AND PROPERTY
11a Burton says of Dahome: "Every house has its 'fetish' hanging up, and every man has a 'fetish' charm about his person. There is a devil fetish for driving away evil spirits, and another for bringing good luck."
A Mission to Gelele, King of Dahome, II, 361.
11b Ellis says of the Yoruba: "An onde for the protection of the person is worn on the body, being tied round the wrist, neck, or ankle, or placed in the hair. Others, for the protection of property, are fastened to houses, or tied to sticks and stumps of trees in cultivated plots of ground. In consequence of their being tied on to the person or object they protect, the word edi, which really means the act of tying or binding, has now the meaning of amulet or charm, just as in Ew̌e the word vo͂̌-sesa (amulet) is derived from vo͂̌ and sa, to tie or bind."
The Yoruba-Speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West Africa, p. 118.
11c Farrow says of the Yoruba: "Charms and amulets of various kinds are greatly used by the Yorubas. The Bale, or head-chief, of Ogbomosho, being of a particularly nervous and superstitious nature, had not only a number of tutelary gods guarding the threshold of his dwelling, but had laid in the ground, from one side of his compound to the other, chains and other charms to render each person who approached him powerless to do any evil. Charms for the protection of property are fastened to the houses, etc. They may consist of sticks, stumps of trees, etc."
Faith, Fancies and Fetich, p. 123.
11d Beckwith says: "Other acts are to be avoided lest they pay the penalty of death to the immediate family. Never add to a house or cut down an old tree."
Black Roadways, p. 87.
12. CHARMS, MEDICINAL
12a Delafosse says of the African in general: "Belief . . . in the power of amulets and talismans is legendary among the Negroes. There is not one of them, whatever his religion, who does not wear on his body several 'gris-gris,' of which one is to preserve him from such and such a malady, a second from the evil eye."
Negroes of Africa, pp. 236-37.
12b Ellis says of the Yoruba: "Another word sometimes used to express amulet is ogun, which, however, more properly means medicinal preparation, poison, or magical drug."
The Yoruba-Speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West Africa, p. 118.
12c Melville and Frances Herskovits say of the Bush Negro of Dutch Guiana: "We had not been long in her hut before we noticed the iron arm-band she wore. It was, we knew, a 'tapu'--a magical preventive which, in this instance, warned its wearer of danger, and kept her from harm in a combat."
Rebel Destiny, p. 288.
12d "Obia, then, is the spirit; obia is the preventive and curing agent; obias are the charms that are worn by people to help them."
Rebel Destiny, p. 321.
13. CHICKEN AND COCK SUPERSTITIONS
13a Herskovits says: "Frizzled chickens are prized both in Africa and in the New World for their ability to find and scratch up evil magic buried against the owner."
From correspondence dated October 10, 1938.
13b Rattray says of Ashanti: "A cock crowing at midnight or long before dawn is immediately killed, as it is considered unlucky."
Ashanti Proverbs, p. 80.
14a Herskovits says of Dahomey: "Another form which these positive injunctions take has to do with facial cuts, which vary from sib to sib. Thus the Adjalénû make no cuts at all. The Hwedánu who live in Whydah, make two cuts on each cheek. The Agblomenu, who are considered a group of autochthonous inhabitants of the plateau of Abomey, make three cuts on each side of the face, one on
the temple called àdjàkàsí (tail of a rat), and two on the cheek, both in front of the ear. The Gedevi^, another aboriginal group near Abomey, distinguish themselves by means of three cuts on each temple. At the present time all Dahomeans are supposed to have three cuts on the temple, though the Agblomenu have suppressed the two of these three and only cut the 'rat's tail.'"
Dahomey, I, 162.
14b "Twelve sets of cuts constitute a complete cicatrization."
Dahomey, I, 292.
14c "The last design is placed between the breasts, and often takes the form of a series of links or of straight lines radiating from a central point."
Dahomey, I, 295.
14d Livingstone says of South Africa: "They mark themselves by a line of little raised cicatrices, each of which is a quarter of an inch long; they extend from the tip of the nose to the root of the hair on the forehead."
Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa, p. 576.
15. CONJURE, ILLNESS AND DEATH
15a Ellis says of the Yoruba: "They consequently attribute sickness and death, other than death resulting from injury or violence, to persons who have for bad purposes enlisted the services of evil spirits, that is to say, to wizards and witches."
The Yoruba-Speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West Africa, p. 117.
15b Meek says of the Jukun: "Sudden deaths, especially of young people, are usually regarded as the work of sorcerers (ba-shiko or ba-shibu). If the deceased had been noted for his disrespect to his seniors his death would be ascribed to offended ancestors, and he would go to his grave with 'bloodshot eyes'; but otherwise it is thought that one who had died suddenly had met his death by the foul means of witchcraft and would take vengeance in his own time."
A Sudanese Kingdom, pp. 223-24.
15cMilligan says of a Mpongwe tribe: "Sickness and death, they believe, may be caused by fetish medicine, which need not be administered to the victim, but is usually laid beside the path where he is about to pass."
The Fetish Folk of West Africa, p. 39.
15d Nassau says of West Africa: "'According to native ideas, all over Africa, such a thing as death from natural causes does not exist. Whatever ill befalls a man or a family, it is always the result of witchcraft, and in every case the witch-doctors are consulted to find out who has been guilty of it.'"
Fetichism in West Africa, p. 117.
15e Talbot says of the Ibibio tribes: "When a man falls sick because his soul has gone forth and is being detained by an enemy, or when he believes that such an one is trying to entice it from out his body, he, in turn, goes to a Juju man known to have the power of seeing clearly."
Life in Southern Nigeria, p. 121.
15f Talbot says of the Yoruba: "The Yoruba, like all other tribes here, considered that a large number of deaths was due to witchcraft or ill-will on the part of some enemy, and when many people died of famine or sickness, a general meeting was held and resort had to divination to find out the guilty persons, who were at once killed or offered in sacrifice to one of the Orisha."
The Peoples of Southern Nigeria, III, 474-75.
16a Hutchinson says of the Ethiopian: "The appellative 'Daddy' is used by the Africans as expressive of their respect as well as confidence."
Ten Years' Wanderings among the Ethiopians, p. 22.
17. DANCES, BUZZARD LOPE, ETC.
17a Cuney-Hare says of the Bushman: "They possess a variety of dances pertaining to social customs, each of which has its appropriate chant. One dance imitates the actions of different animals."
Negro Musicians and Their Music, pp. 10-12.
17b Melville and Frances Herskovits say of the Bush Negro of Dutch Guiana: "Those who danced for the buzzard had no machetes, but went about in a circle, moving with bodies bent forward from their waists and with arms thrown back in imitation of the bird from which their spirit took its name."
Rebel Destiny, p. 330.
17c "Bush and town invoke the buzzard, Opete, so named in Ashanti, and sacred everywhere in West Africa. . . ."
Rebel Destiny, Preface, X.
17d "The men were dancing to the great Kromanti spirits; the tiger-jaguar-and the buzzard, two of the three forms which the dreaded Kromanti obia can take. 'Obia! Huh! Huh!' one ejaculated, imitating the tiger, as his dancing became wilder and wilder."
Rebel Destiny, p. 17.
18. DANCES, FUNERALS
18a Moore says of a Mandingo funeral: "They begin with Crying, and at Night they go to Singing and Dancing, and continue so doing till the Time they break up and depart."
Travels Into the Inland Parts of Africa, p. 130.
18b Rattray says of Ashanti: "People from a far place who were related to the deceased and people from towns near by, also form their own companies. They dance the war-dances in the morning, and at 'the mouth' of evening, when the sun is slanting, they circle the grave. It is now that the corpse is taken to the grave."
The Tribes of the Ashanti Hinterland, p. 194.
19. DANCES, RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE
19a Rattray says of Ashanti: "Dancing in Africa invariably has a religious significance."
Religion and Art in Ashanti, p. 184.
19b Talbot says of the Sudanese tribes: "Among Nigerians, however, it would appear that the god was not evolved out of the dance, but was there first and the dance was developed as a method of worship, of attaining union with him, and of exerting an influence with his help on the fertility of men and of crops."
The Peoples of Southern Nigeria, III, 803.
20. DAY NAMES
20a Beckwith says of Jamaica: "According to an old custom recorded from the African Gold Coast, every child receives at birth a name depending on the day of the week on which it is born.
Friday Cuffee (Coo-fee)
Black Roadways, p. 59.
20b Ellis says of the Tshi-Speaking native: "Every child, from the moment of birth, is given a name which is derived from the day of the week on which it is born."
The Tshi-Speaking Peoples of West Africa, p. 219.
20c Rattray says of Ashanti: "As soon as it is born, all the old women shout, 'Hail so-and-so,' at once naming the infant after that particular day of the week upon which it is born. This -name, which is sometimes called 'God's name,' will ever after be the child's natal day name. To this, as will be noted presently, will later be added a patronymic, and possibly later on in life one or more 'strong names' (mmerane)."
Religion and Art in Ashanti, pp. 56-57.
21. DAYS, LUCKY AND UNLUCKY
a Ellis says of the Tshi-Speaking native: "There are national and tribal lucky and unlucky days, and individuals also have days which they consider lucky and unlucky for themselves. Kwoffi Karikari considered Thursday an unlucky day, and would never commence any undertaking on a Thursday. Kidjo Monday, which falls early in February, is considered by the Ashantis the luckiest day of the year. Their most unlucky day is the anniversary of the Saturday on which Osai Tutu was slain in an ambush near Acromanti in 1731."
The Tshi-Speaking Peoples of the Gold Coast of West Africa, p. 220.
22. DIVINERS, DIVINING, SEED CASTING, ETC.
22a Delafosse says: "Numerous fortune-tellers predict the future and reveal hidden things, by means of processes, many of which strangely resemble those which our own clairvoyants employ."
Negroes of Africa, p. 237.
22b Herskovits says of Dahomey: "A third type, called agɔ̌kwíka, employed two magically treated ago^ seeds tied to the ends of a cord long enough to go about the neck of the accused, and the seeds were buried lightly in the ground. Such was the spiritual power in these seeds, that if the accused was guilty of the crime, he could not remove them from the ground; if he succeeded in rising, he was declared innocent."
Dahomey, II, 18.
22c "In this myth, not only is the explanation found of how the prevalent system of divination came to man, but the principal outlines of the practices which characterize the Fá cult are to be discerned--that is, the sixteen palm--kernels employed in throwing the
lots, the sixteen combinations in which they may fall, and which foretell the future.
Dahomey, II, 206.
22d "The details of this system by means of which the future is foretold may now be considered. In essence, Fá is based on the interpretation, by reference to appropriate myths, of the permutations and combinations obtained by the diviner when he manipulates the sixteen palm-kernels he employs for this purpose. Before him as he works lies a rectangular wooden tray, on which powdered white clay or meal has been sprinkled. In one hand he holds his sixteen palm-kernels, and with great rapidity brings the hand which holds them into the palm of the other one, leaving either one or two seeds for an instant before they are once more picked up and the process is repeated. As soon as he has glimpsed the one or two kernels in his left hand, the right, with the palm-kernels, closes down upon it and the two clasp the seeds. The index and second fingers of the right hand are, however, left free and with these he describes marks in the white powder on the board in front of him. Moving his fingers away from him, he makes a double line for each single kernel, a single line if two seeds are left. The process is repeated eight times for a complete reading."
Dahomey, II, 209-10.
22e Rattray says of the Ashanti: "The soothsayer, oracle man, or diviner, as will be seen presently, takes a leading part in the everyday life of these people. He is consulted on almost every conceivable occasion. Hardly anything can be done until he has been asked. He is really a medium, a 'go-between' in the land of the living and the world of spirit ancestors. The root of the word used to describe, this person is generally the same as that found in the word for shrine. The people consult him at some shrine, the spirit in which guides him and directs his answers."
The Tribes of the Ashanti Hinterland, I, 44.
23a Melville and Frances Herskovits say of the Paramaribo Negro: "Drums are the most important instruments in both Town and flush, and the drummers, in these as in all Negro cultures, achieve a virtuosity of performance and an intricacy of rhythm that come of long practice. It was impossible to obtain satisfactory recordings of drumming which would reveal the complexity of these rhythm
patterns, chiefly because, lacking electrical recording apparatus, the inner rhythms which in combination give a steady beat are lost, and only the points where the notes of the several instruments coincide can be discerned.
"The drums have more than a musical significance in this culture. Tradition assigns to them the threefold power of summoning the gods and the spirits of the ancestors to appear, of articulating the messages of these supernatural beings when they arrive, and of sending them back to their habitats at the end of each ceremony. Both in Town and in the Bush, the dancers who are the worshippers,--one of the most important expressions of worship is dancing--face the drums and dance toward them, in recognition of the voice of the god within the instruments."
Suriname Folk-Lore, pp. 520-21.
23b Milligan says of the West African: "The fact is, however, that the only one of his musical instruments which the African regards with profound respect is his dearly beloved tom-tom-the drum to which he dances."
The Fetish Folk of West Africa, p. 77.
24. DRUMS, FUNERAL
24a Herskovits says of Dahomey: "Outside the house the funerary zç̇li, a pottery drum, is played day and night. The drummers are the members of the dókpwe^ of the quarter where the dead man lived, or if he was a villager, of his village, and it is the head of this dókpwe^ who is the commanding dókpwégâ at the funeral."
Dahomey, I, 355.
24b Melville and Frances Herskovits say of the Bush Negro of Dutch Guiana: "That night whenever we stirred in our sleep we strained for the sound of the drums, but the wind blew from the east, and though Gankwe, where the dead man lay in state, was but a ten-minute run down the rapids, we could hear nothing. In the morning, however, we heard them plainly, heard the invocations drummed by the grave diggers on their way to the burial ground deep in the bush on the opposite bank."
Rebel Destiny, p. 3.
24c Livingstone says of South Africa: "Drums were beating over the body of a man who had died the preceding day, and some women were making a clamorous wail at the door of his hut, and
addressing the deceased as if alive. The drums continued beating the whole night, with as much regularity as a steam-engine thumps, on board ship."
Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa, p. 467.
25. DRUMS, MANUFACTURE OF
25a DuPuis says of Ansah: "The large drums were carried on the heads of men, and beaten in that posture; but the small ones were slung as kettle drums. These added to calabashes and gourds filled with shot or small stones, concave bits of iron, and striking sticks, will give an idea of the national taste in harmonic matters."
Journal of a Residence in Ashantee, p. 43.
25b Ellis says of the Gold Coast: "Drums are made of the hollowed sections of trunks of trees, with a goat's or sheep's skin stretched over one end. They are from one foot to four feet high, and vary in diameter from about six to fourteen inches. Two or three drums are usually used together, each drum producing a different note, and they are played either with the fingers or with two sticks. The lookers-on generally beat time by clapping the hands."
The Tshi-Speaking Peoples of the Gold Coast of West Africa, p. 326.
25c Herskovits says of Haiti: "Drums, iron, and rattles are indispensable for a vodun dance. The drums, of the characteristic hollow-log African type, tuned with pegs inserted in the sides and reinforced with twine wound about the stretched heads of cow-hide or goat-skin, are played in batteries of three, the largest being called manman, the middle the seconde, and the smallest the bula."
Life in a Haitian Valley, pp. 181-82.
25d Herskovits says of Dahomey: "Generally the drums are of the usual African type, made of a hollowed-out log with a more or less crudely carved foot, its head of animal skin being attached to pegs inserted into the body of the drum, just below its upper end. The drum-head is tightened by driving these pegs into the drum until the required note is sounded, since by this method the skin is stretched to produce the desired tone. Ordinarily the attachment of the head to the pegs is by means of strips of the skin itself; in some forms, however, a cord attachment is used. A small barrel drum, the only one of its kind observed, about eighteen inches high
and twelve inches in diameter, and which does not have a foot, is used in the Sagbatá rites. The other more conventional drums range from two feet in size to a length of five feet and more."
Dahomey, II, 318.
25e Moore says of the Mandingo: with him came two or three Women, and the same Number of Mundingo Drums, which are about a Yard long, and a Foot, or twenty Inches diameter at the Top, but less at the Bottom, made out of a solid Piece of Wood, and covered, only at the widest End, with the Skin of a Kid. They beat upon them with only one Stick, and their left Hand, to which the Women will dance very briskly."
Travels Into the Inland Parts of Africa, p. 64.
25f Ward says of the Bakongo country: "The natives were drumming on a goat-skin stretched tightly across the mouth of a hollowed-out log, and dancing round a fire lighted in their midst, one man singing a refrain, while others took up the chorus; and the mingled sound of the voices and the distant beating of other drums in neighboring villages helped to keep me awake."
Five Years with the Congo Cannibals, p. 68.
25g Beckwith says: "The beating of the gombay drum is a familiar accompaniment of death."
Black Roadways, p. 83.
26. DRUM MESSAGES
26a Rattray says of Ashanti: "A great deal is heard in Africa about the wonderful way in which news can be passed on over great distances in an incredibly short space of time. It has been reported that the news of the fall of Khartum was known among the natives of Sierra Leone the same day, and other equally wonderful instances are quoted to show that the native has some extraordinary rapid means of communicating important events. It must, however, be remembered that most of the instances that one hears quoted are incapable of verification, and would, moreover, probably be found to have been much exaggerated. Having said this much, however, it must be admitted that these natives have a means of intercommunication which often inspires wonder and curiosity on the part of Europeans. One of such means of communication is by drumming.
"This idea the European will readily grasp, and being familiar with various means of signalling, will suppose that some such a method might be adapted to drums; but among the Ashantis the drum is
not used as a means of signalling in the sense that we would infer, that is by rapping out words by means of a prearranged code, but (to the native mind) is used to sound or speak the actual words."
Ashanti Proverbs, pp. 133-34.
26b "I first became interested in this difficult subject many years ago. At that time it was generally known that the Ashanti, in common with certain other West Coast peoples, were able to convey messages over great distances and in an incredibly short space of time by means of drums, and it was thought that their system was based upon some such method as that with which Europeans are familiar in the Morse code."
Ashanti, p. 242.
27a Beckwith says of the Jamaica Negro: "Parkes says that men who 'deal in spirits' wear a red flannel shirt, or a crosspiece of red under their ordinary clothes, and generally gold earrings. Not all men who wear earrings are Obeah Men; fishermen, for example, generally wear one earring. The gold is said to 'brighten their eyes to see ghosts,' but also a gold earring is put on to improve the natural sight."
Black Roadways, p. 108.
28. EARTH THROWN IN GRAVE
28a Brown says of the Bantu Nomad (the Bechuana): "A pit is dug and into it the body is lowered in the sitting position. The grave is then filled in, each person present slowly pouring earth onto the body and around it with their hands until the grave is full."
Among the Bantu Nomads, p. 67.
28b Meek says of Nigeria: "Loose earth is then thrown in on the body, together with the mat and cloth. Even very young sons must throw in a little earth, as evidence that they had taken a share in their father's burial rites. The last handfuls are thrown in with the back turned to the grave, as a sign that they had finished with the dead man."
Law and Authority in a Nigerian Tribe, pp. 307-08.
29. ECHO OF SPEECH
29a Herskovits says of Haiti: "With the benediction, the action de grâce came to an end, and the solemn, tired voice of the prêt savanne
was heard intoning a hymn, which, in the usual fashion, was repeated by the assembled group until, without interlude, without even a pause, the interpolations of the chorus gradually changed, so that the rhythm became African, and, with the transition, the vodun priest took over the leadership. The hungan began by repeating several times the phrase which throughout the entire ceremony was to punctuate all its climaxes, 'Grâce [et] misecorde,' and the family murmured it in response."
Life in a Haitian Valley, p. 161.
30. FAREWELL TO CORPSE (SPOKEN TO)
30a Melville and Frances Herskovits say of the Bush Negro of Dutch Guiana: "Now the ceremony was drawing to a close, and the leave takings were to be said. . . . Distinctly the low voice of Sedefo came to us as he addressed the corpse:
'The hour has come when we must part from you. What the Earth has decreed we cannot help. We have done for you what we could. We have given you a funeral worthy of you. You must care for us, and you must deliver us from all evil that may come upon us.'"
Rebel Destiny, p. 18.
31. FAREWELL TO CORPSE (TOUCHED)
31a Pearce says of the Gold Coast of West Africa: "The mourners sit around the body with their hands upon it, and chant a farewell dirge."
32. FIG, SACRED
32a Rattray says of Ashanti: "The chief here--in answer to my question--said that the fig tree was a famous sanctuary, and that any one sentenced to death who escaped there would be safe."
Ashanti, pp. 128-29.
33. FOLK TALES
33a Rattray says of Hausa folk tales: "Stories and traditions collected through the medium of an interpreter are amusing, and might prove of interest in the nursery, though much would have to be omitted or toned down, as savage folk-lore is often coarse and vulgar according to our notions."
Hausa Folk-Lore Customs, Proverbs, Etc., I, Author's Note, XI
34. FOREST-DWELLING FORCES
34a Farrow says of the Yoruba: "Certain trees are particularly sacred. The silk-cotton tree (Yoruba peregun) is highly venerated throughout West Africa 'from the Senegal to the Niger,' probably because of its majestic appearance, for it is of little utility, the timber being soft, and its cotton possessing neither strength nor durability. This tree often grows to a stupendous height, approximating 300 feet, far out-topping all other trees of the forest."
Faith, Fancies and Fetich, p. 16.
34b Herskovits says of Dahomey: "The psychological liaison between the gods and magic, however, is revealed in the character of the semi-divine spirits who are believed to people the forest--Mínonâ, Hoho, the abiku^ and the azizą."
Dahomey, II, 260.
34c Kingsley says of the Bantu tribes: "In some part of the long single street of most villages there is built a low hut in which charms are hung, and by which grows a consecrated plant, a lily, a euphorbia, or a fig."
Travels in West Africa, p. 452.
34d Leonard says of Southern Nigeria: "Groves and woods, and those portions of the bush close to every town which are reserved as burial-grounds, are considered sacred and worship is paid to either the spirits or the deities who inhabit or preside over them."
The Lower Niger and Its Tribes, p. 298.
35. FOWL, SACRIFICE OF
35a Ellis says of the Yoruba: "After this invitation to be gone, the fowl, called adire-iranna, is sacrificed, which, besides securing a right-of-way for the soul, is supposed also to guide it. The feathers of the fowl are scattered around the house, and the bird itself carried out to a bush-road, where it is cooked and eaten."
The Yoruba-Speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West Africa, p. 160.
35b Leyden says of the Mandingo territory: "The journey was marked by nothing remarkable, except the sacrifice of a white chicken, which was offered by Johnson, the interpreter, to the spirits of the woods, described as a powerful race of white beings, with long flowing hair."
Historical Account of Discoveries and Travels in Africa, I, 339.
35c Meek says of Nigeria: "The next rite is known as Ekuibuocha, a phrase which seems to mean 'Making the face (of the dead man) white (i.e. radiant).' Women of the deceased's family bring a cock fastened to a string of cowries and one of the women who is considered especially lucky (e.g. whose children are all alive), or some person previously indicated by the deceased, holds or hangs the cock over the dead man's head. When the cock shakes its wings (a sign of acceptance by the deceased), it is taken out and hung at the door of the hut or on a branch of an oterre tree in the compound. After a while it is taken down and its neck is drawn, the blood being allowed to drip on to the ground at the threshold. The fowl is then cooked and eaten by the female relatives. The intention in leaving the fowl hung up is, apparently, to give the deceased time to see and receive the offering."
Law and Authority in a Nigerian Tribe, pp. 303-04.
35d Rattray says of Ashanti: "The eldest son supplies a sheep and a fowl which are killed in the yard of the compound (dundon) and grain-food is prepared which is called sanfana (in Dagomba, sore segam, literally 'food for the road'). The sextons and others attending the funeral partake of this food, and a portion of the grain-food and a leg of the fowl are also placed in a calabash which is set down in the room where the corpse had been laid prior to interment."
The Tribes of the Ashanti Hinterland, II, 460-61.
36. FUNERAL, PROPER OBSERVANCE
36a Ellis says of the Yoruba: "It is considered the greatest disgrace to a family not to be able to hold the proper ceremonies at the death of one of their number, a notion which is comprehensible when we remember how much the welfare of the soul of the deceased is supposed to depend upon their performance. Hence families not unfrequently reduce themselves almost to beggary in order to carry them out, or pawn or sell their children to raise the money necessary."
The Yoruba-Speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West Africa, p. 161.
36b Leonard says of the Ibo: "All Ibo place great faith in the due and proper observance of the funeral ceremony, for they are of the opinion that it enables the soul to go to God and to find its final destination, and that without this sacred rite the soul is prevented by the other spirits from eating, or in any way associating with
them, and in this manner, from entering into the Creator's presence. So in this way it becomes an outcast and a wanderer on the face of the earth, haunting houses and frequently burial grounds, or is forced perhaps to return to this world in the form or body of some animal."
The Lower Niger and Its Tribes, p. 142.
36c Meek says of Nigeria: "The spirit of a dead Ibo is considered to hover round his home, or wander aimlessly in the. underworld, until the final funeral rites have been performed."
Law and Authority in a Nigerian Tribe, p. 314.
36d Milligan says of the Mpongwe of Gaboon: "The spirit of the deceased knows all that is going on and is supposed to be very sensitive in regard to the amount of mourning and the details of the funeral."
The Fetish Folk of West Africa, p. 148.
37. FUNERALS, WAKES--IMPORTANCE, SOCIAL ACTIVITY
37a Herskovits says of Dahomey: "A death-watch is now provided to see to it that the body is not left unattended. This watch is kept with rigid care, especially when the body is in the hands of the members of the dókpwe^ who actually carry out the ritual of the funeral. This is because of the opportunity a corpse affords anyone who is desirous of obtaining the means for working magic by capturing the soul of the deceased, since a bit of the dead man's cloth, or, better still, some of his hair or nail-parings might easily be taken and used to this end. Furthermore, with such material, or with a cloth placed inside the mouth of the corpse to absorb some of the moisture remaining there, charms of great power and therefore great value could be made."
Dahomey, I, 353.
37b Leonard says of the Ibo and other tribes: "Although the death of a man is in reality a great loss to his household or even to the community, the occasion of his obsequies is regarded as an event of great entertainment to the community at large. It is looked upon as a circumstance in which the family honour is concerned in a distinctly two fold sense, affecting its reputation in this world as well as in the next. For the reception of the soul of the deceased in spiritland and his final prestige are altogether dependent on the grandeur and liberality of the human entertainment."
The Lower Niger and Its Tribes, pp. 157-58.
37c Talbot says of the Sudanese tribes: "A wake invariably takes place, the duration and grandeur of which depend upon the wealth of the family. Animals--including cows if these can be afforded--are slain in profusion, while palm wine and gin are provided in plenty, and in old days, rum. Cannons and guns are fired off to give notice to the ghosts that a 'big man' is coming, and plays are performed by the clubs and societies of which the deceased was a member. In fact, funerals provide the best opportunity for festivals, 'plays,' dances and performances in general."
The Peoples of Southern Nigeria, III, 473.
38. HARVEST FESTIVALS
38a Ellis says of the Tshi-Speaking native: "Yam, or Harvest Festivals.--These appear to be festivals held for the purpose of returning thanks to the gods for having protected the crop. There are apparently two; one held in September, when the yam crop is ripe, and another, called Ojirrah, in December, when it is planted. A minor festival, called Affi-neh-dzea-fi, which is held in April, appears, however, to be of the same nature. The September festival lasts a fortnight, and is commenced by a loud beating of drums. It is called by the Ashantis Appatram, and no new yam may be eaten by the people till the close of the festival."
The Tshi-Speaking Peoples of the Gold Coast of West Africa, p. 229.
38b Meek says of Nigeria: "Public sacrifice to Ala may be offered periodically at the beginning of the agricultural season, before clearing new land, or after clearing old, before planting yams, or at the end of the yam harvest.
Law and Authority in a Nigerian Tribe, p. 26.
38c Rattray says of Ashanti: "There appear to be at least three great festivals which are held by the Talense in connexion with the crops and harvest."
The Tribes of the Ashanti Hinterland, II, 358-59.
38d Talbot says of the Ibibio tribes: "At the time of new yam planting, people came from far and near to beg protection and increase for their crops and herds. On such occasions the brow of the chief priest is bound with a fillet of white cloth, which may not be taken off till the time of sacrifice comes round again. He marks all the people with white chalk, as a sign that they have attended the festival and asked the blessing of the genius of the pool."
Life in Southern Nigeria, p. 38.
39. HOE, MAGIC
39a Rattray repeats a Hausa folk tale: "When he struck one blow on the ground with the hoe, then he climbed on the hoe and sat down, and the hoe started to hoe, and fairly flew until it had done as much as the hoers. It passed them, and reached the boundary of the furrow."
Hausa Folk-Lore Customs, Proverbs, Etc., I, 74-76.
39b Rattray tells an Ashanti folk tale: "The Hoe turned over a huge tract (of land). Then they stopped work and went off, and the Porcupine took the hoe and hid it. And Kwaku, the Spider, saw (where he put it). He said, 'This hoe that I have seen, to-morrow very, very early I shall come and take it to do my work.' Truly, very, very, very early, the Spider went and got it; he took to his farm. Now, the Spider did not know how to make it stop, and he raised his song:
'Gyensaworowa, Kotoko, saworowa.
Gyensaworowa, Kotoko, saworowa,
And the Hoe, when it commenced hoeing, continued hoeing. And it hoed until it came too far away. Now it reached the Sea-god's water. Thence it came to the Land of White-men-far, and the White men took it, and looked at it, and made others (like it). That is how many (European) hoes came among the Ashanti. Formerly it was only Kotoko, the Porcupine, who had one."
Akan-Ashanti Folk-Tales, p. 43.
40. HOG, SACRIFICE OF
40a Beckwith says of Jamaica: "When they come to the Grave, which is generally made in some Savannah or Plain, they lay down the Coffin, or whatever the Body happens to be wrapt up in; and if he be one whose Circumstances could allow it (or if he be generally liked, the Negroes contribute among themselves) they sacrifice a Hog."
Dark Roadways, p. 79.
41a Cruickshank says of the Gold Coast of Africa: "They also mould images from clay, and bake them. We have seen curious groups of these in some parts of the country. Upon the death of a
great man, they make representations of him, sitting in state, with his wives and attendants seated around him."
Eighteen Years on the Gold Coast of Africa, p. 270.
41b Ellis says of the Ewe: "The head is sometimes of wood, rising like a cone; the mouth extends from ear to ear, and is garnished with the teeth of dogs, or with cowries to represent teeth; the eyes are also represented by cowries. The arms of the figure are invariably immensely long, while the legs are short and the feet large."
The Ewe-Speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West Africa, p. 42.
41c Guillaume and Munro say: "He is especially fond of giving a flashing regard to the eyes by inserting beads, shells, stones or bits of metal."
Primitive Negro Sculpture, p. 29.
41d "Constructed like a building of solid blocks, a typical negro, statue is itself a solid, a full, substantial block, set with convincing, massive reality in its own space. Its effect does not depend, as that of much other sculpture does, on elaborate superficial decoration scratched upon a weak and vaguely realized mass. There is rarely a sense of overdecoration or pretense, a feeling of inner rottenness, as though, one could squash the whole fabric between the hands, or scrape off its ornaments at a stroke. Surface decorations there may be in profusion, but they are based upon a firm foundation and integrated with it, to form an unyielding and immovable structure."
Primitive Negro Sculpture, p. 37.
41e Kingsley says of the West African: "He cuts from a tree a moderately thick branch which he carves into a rude resemblance of the human figure; usually these figures are simply cylindrical pieces of wood, from ten to fourteen inches in length and from three to four in diameter. Two or three inches from one end, which may be called the top, the stick is notched so as to roughly resemble a neck, and the top is then rounded to bear some rough distant resemblance to a head."
Travels in West Africa, p. 510.
41f Leonard says of the Ibo and other tribes: "It is quite impossible to understand the spiritual conception and the god-idea of these natives unless we possess a knowledge of that peculiarly personal system of society out of which it has evolved and developed; and we recognise that the gods are but the shadows or
spirits, so called, of mortals. They are rude but perfect pictures of the very worshippers in whose own human image they have been either kneaded out of clay or carved out of wood."
The Lower Niger and Its Tribes, p. 433.
41g "Not so the barbarian, however. With him the Ju-Ju or emblem is no child's play, no mere outlet for a state of activity which he is not particularly desirous of, not even a safety-valve by which the accumulated steam of his pent-up emotions might escape, but a matter of life and death, connecting, as it does, one to the other, i.e. himself and household to the household in the spirit. To natural man this grotesque image of clay or wood is no mere toy, no senseless figure, that he moulds or carves for amusement during his hours of leisure, simply to kill time with.
"So this bundle of repressed but irrepressible emotions appeals to his household doll, as to an association--not in a merely abstract but in a personal sense, as a lifelong association, to which, connected and related as he is, from a twofold aspect, he is doubly bound. He appeals to it, as to a familiar object, embodying, as it does, his familiar and guardian spirit, not because he merely thinks or hopes this to be so, but because in all sincerity he feels and believes it to he the case. More than this, because he believes it to be the spirit of his father or grandfather, who, in accordance with the divine instructions, occupies the position of communicator and mediator between the human and spiritual households."
The Lower Niger and Its Tribes, p. 384-85.
41h "Small figures and images, such as are mentioned above, purporting and believed by the natives to contain the spirits of the defunct, and occupying exactly the same status as the Aryan 'Pitris' or 'Fathers' and the Roman Lares and Penates, are also made and venerated by all the Delta tribes. Food and liquid offerings are regularly placed on graves or at the monuments erected, or the symbols that have just been referred to, for the use of the departed spirits."
The Lower Niger and Its Tribes, p. 183.
41i Rattray says of Ashanti: "The priestly class and the sumankwafo, the doctors in suman, demanded for their professional purposes figures in human or animal forms; this resulted in the carving of Sasabonsam, mmoatia and, finally, human figures; in all of these the genius of the people found an outlet for latent artistic talent."
Religion and Art in Ashanti, p. 269.
42. MEMORIAL (SECOND FUNERAL)
42a Farrow says of the Yoruba: "In June of each year the Annual Egun festival is held, for seven days. It is the Yoruba 'All Souls' festival, when mourning is repeated for all those who have died during the last few years. Egungun is specially powerful in Ibadau, even as Oro is in Abeokuta."
Faith, Fancies and Fetich, pp. 79-80.
42b Leonard says of the Ibo and other tribes: "The Lamentation or Second Burial.--This is conducted on much the same lines as the first, except that a greater entertainment is provided and the expenses incurred are heavier.
"In a spiritual sense, however, the rite is one of infinitely greater importance, because it is a special memorial service held over the deceased in order to release him from the thraldom of the region of the dead in which all souls are confined, where they exist on leaves or grass just like the brute beasts, and to usher him triumphantly, as befits his birth, into the abode of his fathers in the world of spirits.
"For the universal belief on this point is that no human soul can attain to the peaceful ancestral habitations without this rite of second burial. Hence the great aversion shown by a community towards those who fail to observe this holy sacrament."
The Lower Niger and Its Tribes, pp. 159-60.
42c Meek says of Nigeria: "The Ekwa-Ozu rites are commonly referred to in English as Me Second Burial,' though there is no apparent reason for the use of this expression.
"The responsibility for performing the rites falls mainly on the principal heir, who should endeavour to carry them out within a year of the dead man's death. But the period may be extended, if the deceased's family has been unable to find the necessary means, and cases have occurred of the final funeral rites being postponed for as much as ten or twenty years."
Law and Authority in a Nigerian Tribe, p. 314.
42d Talbot says of the Ibibio tribes: "This first burial, generally called Mkpa Owo, is followed, from six months to two years later, by the Ewouga or Usiak Ekkpo, the second burial, with which the obsequies are completed and without which the deceased is thought to be unable to take his proper position in the realm of the dead."
Life in Southern Nigeria, p. 142.
43a Monteiro says of Angola: "These mortars are made of soft wood, mostly of the cotton wood tree, which is easily cut with a knife; for scooping out the interior of the mortars the natives use a tool made by bending round about an inch of the point of an ordinary knife, which they call a "locombo."
Angola and the River Congo, p. 167.
44. OWL, HOOTING OF
44a Ellis says of the Vais: "The Vais consider the owl the king of all witches. They believe that some old king transformed himself into the owl and became the king of witchcraft. The owl is called húhu. Whenever the cry of this bird is heard they tremble with fear. It is said when an owl sits upon a home at least one of its inmates is sure to die."
Negro Culture in West Africa, p. 66.
44b Nassau says of West Africa: "Then, concerning owls; see that your camp at night is not disturbed by the cry of the Kulu (spirit of the departed), that warns you that one of you is going to die."
Fetichism in West Africa, pp. 195-96.
45. PALM CABBAGE, PALM WINE
45a Bridge says of the West Coast of Africa: "Palm wine is the sap of the tree; and its top furnishes a most delicious dish, called palm-cabbage. The trunk supplies fire-wood and timber for building fences. From the fibres of the wood is manufactured a strong cordage, and a kind of native cloth; and the leaves, besides being used for thatching houses, are converted into hats. If nature had given the inhabitants of Africa nothing else, this one gift of the palm-tree would have included food, drink, clothing, and habitation, and the gratuitous boon of beauty, into the bargain."
Journal of an African Cruiser, p. 106.
45b Burton says of Gelele: "The palm, after being felled, is allowed to lie for a couple of days, the cabbage is removed for food, and in its place a pipe, generally a bit of papaw-stalk, conducts the sap into the calabash below. At times, to make the juice flow more freely, a lighted stick is thrust into the hole, which is afterwards scraped clear of charred wood. This "toddy" is the drink
of the maritime regions, where it is most impudently watered, and we shall not taste it beyond the Agrime swamp."
A Mission to Gelele, King of Dahome, I, pp. 128-29.
46a Basden says of the Ibo: "The more one listens to native music, the more one is conscious of its vital power. It touches the chords of man's inmost being, and stirs his primal instincts. It demands the performer's whole attention and so sways the individual as almost to divide asunder, for the time being, mind and body. . . . Under its influence, and that of the accompanying dance, one has seen men and women pass into a completely dazed condition, oblivious and apparently unconscious of the world around them."
Among the Ibos of Nigeria, p. 192.
46b Ellis says of the Gold Coast: "The drums strike up, and the priest commences his dance, leaping, bounding, and turning and twisting round and round, until he works himself into a real or simulated condition of frenzy, with foam dropping from the mouth, and eyes wildly rolling."
The Tshi-Speaking Peoples of the Gold Coast of West Africa, p. 125.
46c Ellis says of the town of Forhudzi: "A god was beginning to take possession of him. . . . In the meantime the trembling increased, and soon the priest was shuddering as if in an ague fit. Every portion of his body seemed to shake; the head, arms, legs, abdomen, and pectoral muscles, all quivering violently. He leaned forward and appeared to be endeavoring to vomit, doubtless to give the idea that his body was struggling to expel the god which was now supposed to possess him. A little foam appeared on his lips, and from time to time saliva fell on the ground. Next, with open mouth and protruding tongue, and with eyes wildly rolling, he worked himself, still seated and quivering violently, into the middle of the arena."
The Tshi-Speaking Peoples of the Gold Coast of West Africa, p. 132.
46d Herskovits says of Haiti: "Fundamentally, to be possessed by a loa means that an individual's spirit is literally dispossessed by that of the god. Personalities undergo radical change in accordance with the nature of the deity, while even the sex of the one possessed is disregarded if it differs from that of the god, so that, for example, a woman 'mounted' by Ogun is always addressed as
[paragraph continues] Papa Ogun. One wears the colors of the god and the ornaments he likes, eating and drinking those things he prefers, and otherwise manifesting his peculiar characteristics--rolling on the earth, if possessed by Damballa or chattering incessantly if by Gede."
Life in a Haitian Valley, p. 146.
46e Leonard says of the Ibo and other tribes: "This possession by spirits, although not confined to any particular tribe or tribes in the Delta, is said to be much more common among the Ijo and Brassmen, and women are afflicted in a considerably greater proportion than men. These possessions--which are invariably made by the Owu or water spirit--may occur at any time, or in any place, and as soon as a woman jumps up and begins to talk a strange language--usually either Okrika or Kila--it is the first as it is a sure indication that she has become possessed. The fact that in many instances the obsessed person in her normal state is unable to speak the tongue which, when possessed, she speaks quite fluently, is naturally looked upon as direct evidence that it is the investing spirit who speaks and not the woman herself. So, too, a girl or woman who through excessive shyness is too coy to dance in public, develops, when under the influence of the Owu, an excess of boldness, which enables her to do things that under ordinary conditions she would not dream of doing. This boldness is to these natives merely the confirmation of a pre-existing conviction that it is not the person that is doing these things but the spirit who has invaded and obsessed her.
"It is further believed that persons so afflicted are possessed of physical strength which is altogether superhuman, so that when they become violent and uncontrollable they are scarcely to be overcome by half a dozen or more able-bodied men."
The Lower Niger and Its Tribes, pp. 227-28.
46f Meek says of the Yaku: "As the dance proceeds they are one by one assailed with convulsive shiverings, wave their arms, strike themselves and throw themselves on the ground like demented persons."
A Sudanese Kingdom, p. 278.
47. POSSESSIONS ON GRAVE
47a Burton says of Dahome: "At the end of the funeral customs, especially in the Old Calabar River, a small house is built upon the beach, and in it are placed the valuables possessed by the departed--
some whole, and others broken,--statues, clocks, vases, porcelains, and so forth."
A Mission to Gelele, King of Dahome, II, p. 262.
47b Nassau says of the Benga, the Mpongwe and the Fang: "Formerly also slaves carried boxes of the dead man's goods, cloth, I hardware, crockery, and so forth, to be laid by the body, which in those days was not interred, but was left on the top of the ground covered with branches and leaves."
Fetichism in West Africa, p. 218.
47c Talbot says of the Ibibio: "Next a table and some of the finest pieces of household furniture, together with jars, dishes, and bowls of old china, were carried thither and set in order. When all had been arranged, the coffin was carefully lowered down the shaft, borne through the passage and laid upon the resting-place so reverently prepared."
Life in Southern Nigeria, p. 154.
48. ROOT DOCTORS
48a Cardinall says of the Gold Coast: "With the belief that spiritual agents are the cause of misfortune and sickness, it follows that medical treatment consists generally in charms. There are certain men considered most proficient in the curative art. These are the liri-tina (Kassena), tiindana (Nankanni), tinyam (Builsa), (owner of medicine). Their medicines are drawn from the bush, and are usually bitter-tasting grasses, herbs, and barks. For poultices the same herbs are used mixed with shea-butter and charcoal and ashes. Usually they are covered with cow-dung. It is said that the stronger the smell the more easily will the evil spirit causing the sickness be driven away."
The Natives of the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast, p. 46.
48b Cruickshank says of the Gold Coast native: "The natives of the Gold Coast have Do despicable knowledge of the qualities of herbs. A collection of these was, at one time, sent home for analysis; and it was found generally that they possessed some qualities calculated to be of use in alleviating the diseases for which the natives applied them."
Eighteen Years an the Gold Coast, II, 147.
48c Leyden says of the interior sections of West Africa, such a, the Congo, the banks of the Senegal and the Gambia, etc.: "The
magicians appear to have been resorted to universally in cases of malady, which proved a hard trial on the faith even of the steadiest converts. When their children or near relations were seized with illness, they immediately began to cast a longing eye towards their old method of cure; and if they had not recourse to it, they even incurred reproach among their neighbors, as suffering their relation to die, rather than incur the expence of a magician."
Historical Account of Discoveries and Travels in Africa, I, 120.
48d Meek says of Nigeria: "The believer in witchcraft feels he has a right to protect himself by every means in his power, and chief among these is the employment of a witch-doctor . . . [who] is therefore considered just as essential in most negro communities as a medical practitioner is amongst ourselves, and, though some witch-doctors may abuse their powers for selfish ends, as a class they are regarded as champions of morality."
Law and Authority in a Nigerian Tribe, p. 345.
48e Nassau, quoting Menzies' History of Religion, p. 73, says of the Benja, the Mpongwe, the Fang, and other West African tribes: "'There is generally a special person in a tribe who knows these things, and is able to work them. He has more power over spirits than other men have, and is able to make them do what he likes. He can heal sickness, he can foretell the future, he can change a thing into something else, or a man into a lower animal, or a tree, or anything; he can also assume such transformations himself at will. He uses means to bring about such results; he knows about herbs, he has also recourse to rubbing, to making images of affected parts in the body, and to various other arts. . . . It is the spirit dwelling in him which brings about the wonderful results; without the spirit he could not do anything.'"
Fetichism in West Africa, pp. 86-87.
48f Ward says of the Bakongo tribes: "it is a general belief with the Bakongo that all sickness is the result of witchcraft exercised by some member of the community, and the services of the charm-doctor are employed to discover the individual who is ndoki, i.e., bedeviled, and guilty of devouring the spirit of the unfortunate invalid; and in the event of the sick person dying, the medicine-man is deputed by the relatives of the deceased to find out the witch who has 'eaten the heart.'"
Five Years with the Congo Cannibals, p. 39.
49. SEWING ON CLOTHES
49a Puckett says of West Africa: "In West Africa one dare not sew his cloth while it is on his body lest his relative die."
Folk Beliefs of the Southern Negro, p. 405.
50a Beckwith says of Jamaica: "The snake is the 'baddest of all,' anyone will affirm, but as there are seldom to be found snakes in Jamaica today this takes one back in the history of obeah to the days of ob, to the voodoo, and the Obeah Man of the past who carried 'A staff carved with snakes or with a human head on the handle, a cabalistic book and a stuffed snake.'"
Black Roadways, p. 122.
50b Leonard says of Southern Nigeria: "Reptiles, snakes, and crocodiles particularly are much more utilised as emblems, simply, it is to be presumed, because they are more in evidence in the forests and rivers of the Delta than any other species of animals, consequently must have appealed to the natives as the most convenient and suitable repositories for the ancestral manes."
The Lower Niger and Its Tribes, p. 317.
50c Melville and Frances Herskovits say of Dahomey: "The next personal spirit or force we are to describe is one less esteemed than feared. It is called Dą, which signifies 'serpent.' What is the power of Dą? All serpents are Dą but not all serpents are worshipped. Quintessentially, Dą represents the principle of mobility, of sinuosity. 'All things which curve, and move, but have no feet, are Dą.'"
An Outline of Dahomean Religious Beliefs, p. 56.
50d Melville and Frances Herskovits say of the Paramaribo Negro: "The most prevalent types of winti among women in particular are those associated with the snake, and since these enter into all the categories of winti, we list them after the gods of the Sky and Earth. Of these we have Dagowe, Papa, Vɔdų, Hei̪-grɔ̨, Aboma, Aninine, Alado, Sinero, Korowena, Kwεnda, Tobochina, and Cheno. The term Dagowe often serves, in the town, as a generic term for all the snake spirits, though the Dagowe, snake, properly speaking, is one of the constrictor group found in the colony, and is believed by the natives to inhabit both land and water. This is, of course, good observation on their part, for this characteristic of all snakes of the boa type is well-known. Not all snakes are sacred, yet no one will kill a snake."
Suriname Folk-Lore, pp. 63-64.
50e Talbot says of the Ibibio tribes: "Each great Ibibio Juju man is supposed to keep one such serpent familiar in his house, in the 'bush' where secret rites are celebrated, or in some place by the waterside. It is called Kukubarakpa, and, by virtue of this agent, much of the magician's power is said to come to him. The possession of a snake is also supposed to bring riches, though its magic is thought to be of no avail during the season of storms."
Life in Southern Nigeria, p. 17.
51. SERPENTS, DREAM OF
51a Leonard says of Southern Nigeria: "A snake seen in a dream implies a host of enemies seeking to destroy the dreamer's life. Nightmare is caused by the visitation of an evil or it may be antipathetic spirit."
The Lower Niger and Its Tribes, p. 147.
52a Puckett says of the Ewe: "Sneezing is regarded as a bad omen by the Ewe tribes of Africa because it indicates that the indwelling spirit is about to quit the body, affording an opportunity for a homeless spirit to enter in and cause illness. A similar belief leads the Calabar natives to exclaim, 'Far from you!' when a person sneezes, with an appropriate gesture as if throwing off some evil."
Folk Beliefs of the Southern Negro, p. 453.
53. SPIDER STORIES
53a Melville and Frances Herskovits say of the Suriname Negro: "Though few tales have been recorded, these play an important role in the life of the Suriname Negroes. They are, whatever their nature, called Anąnsi-tri, the stories of Anansi, the Twi trickster-hero, who, like in Curaçao, and Jamaica, has survived his migration to the western hemisphere to be here, as on the Gold Coast, the most important single character in the folk-tales of the Negroes of these regions."
Suriname Folk-Lore, p. 138.
54. SPIRITS, ANIMALS
54a Ellis says of the Yoruba: "The souls of the dead are sometimes reborn in animals, and occasionally, though but rarely, in plants."
The Yoruba-Speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West Africa, p. 133.
54b Herskovits says of Haiti: "Baka appear as small bearded human-like figures with flaming eyes, or as cattle, horses, asses, goats, bears (?) and dogs."
Life in a Haitian Valley, p. 241.
55. SPIRITS, DWARFS
55a Cardinall says of the Gold Coast: "They are kyikyiri (Kassena), kukru (Builsa), and chichirigu (Nankanni). Sometimes they are visible to men, and in appearance resemble the mmotia of the Ashanti, ill-shapen dwarfs . . . they annoy travellers by night by 'throwing stones at them.'"
The Natives of the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast, pp. 27-28.
56. SPIRITS, EXISTENCE AFTER DEATH
56a Campbell says of the Aku, Yoruba tribes: "They believe in the spirit after death, and in its power of being present among the living for good or evil purposes."
A Pilgrimage to My Motherland, p. 75.
56b Cruickshank says of the Gold Coast native: "They are unanimous in thinking that there is in man a spirit which survives the body. This spirit is supposed to remain near the spot, where the body has been buried. They believe it to have a consciousness of what is going on upon earth, and to have the power of exercising some influence over their destiny."
Eighteen Years on the Gold Coast of Africa, II, 135.
56c Melville and Frances Herskovits say of the Bush Negro of Dutch Guiana: "As in Africa, the spirit of the dead is powerful for good or evil, and the rites of death must be carried out as tradition demands, so that the dead man may feel he has received honor among the living and proper introduction to the world of the dead."
Rebel Destiny, p. 4.
57. SPIRITS, FACES TURNED BACKWARD
57a Cardinall says of the Gold Coast: the spirits turned their faces to the back of the head."
The Natives of the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast, p. 34.
58. SPIRIT, FOOD FOR
58a Cole says of West Africa: "The spirits of the dead, as well as genii, are also honored and adored. Food, tobacco, and rum are placed on the graves for the departed, and their aid is requested at the taking of a journey, or in times of need."
A Revelation of the Secret Orders of Western Africa, p. 39.
58b Herskovits says of Dahomey: "Food is brought in the dishes from which the dead ate when alive, and each meal is given to the akɔvi̋ on guard, who takes three morsels and puts them down one after the other near the corpse. She also allows water to drop three times nearby, and then tells the wife of the deceased to gather up and remove everything that has been put down. The dead man's pipe must now be placed next to him; tobacco is put into it, and it is smoked for the enjoyment of the dead man by the akɔvi̋ and the wife who watch the body."
Dahomey, I, 356.
58c Hutchinson says of the Efik: "Amongst the Efik tribe, who are the residents here, there exists a practice of cooking food and leaving it on the table of a fabric called the 'devil house,' which is erected near the grave of a man or woman. The food is placed there in calabashes, and it is believed that the spirit of the deceased, with those of the butchered serfs who are her or his fellow-travelers, frequently came to partake of it in their journey to the world of spirits, whither they are supposed to be travelling."
Ten Years' Wanderings Among the Ethiopians, pp. 206-07.
58d Nassau says of West Africa: "When affairs are going wrong in the villages, and the people do not know the cause, offerings of food and drink are taken to the grave to cause the spirit to cease disturbing them, and prayers are made to it that it may the rather bless them."
Fetichism in West Africa, p. 220.
58e Rattray says of Ashanti: "An Ashanti never drinks without pouring a few drops of the wine on the ground for the denizens of the spirit world who may happen to be about (also some for 'fetishes'). Food is constantly placed aside for them."
Ashanti Proverbs, p. 37.
58f "If you see your ancestor in a dream lying dead, as he did on the day of his death, then you know that there is going to be an
other death in your clan; otherwise, to be visited by an ancestor only means that he is hungry and you place food upon his stool."
Religion and Art in Ashanti, pp. 193-94.
59. SPIRITS AND GHOSTS, GENERAL
59a Kingsley says of the West Coast of Africa: "Accounts of apparitions abound in all the West Coast districts, and although the African holds them all in high horror and terror, he does not see anything supernatural in his 'Duppy.' It is a horrid thing to happen on, but there is nothing strange about it, and he is ten thousand times more frightened than puzzled over the affair. He does not want to 'investigate' to see whether there is anything in it. He wants to get clear away, and make ju-ju against it, 'one time.'
"These apparitions have a great variety of form, for, firstly, there are all the true spirits, nature spirits; secondly, the spirits of human beings--these human spirits are held to exist before as well as during and after bodily life; thirdly, the spirits of things."
Travels in West Africa, p. 509.
59b Melville and Frances Herskovits say of the Suriname Negro: "When going home late from winti-dances, we were led away from certain thoroughfares, and went a roundabout way to avoid a corner, or a tree, or a house, because these were known to be 'bad' places,--that is to say, they were haunted. At least two persons accompanied us home, so that, in returning to their own homes, they would not have to walk the streets alone. The hours that are dangerous are mid-day, from 5:30 to 6:30 in the evening, and from 12:30 to 1:30 at night."
Suriname Folk-Lore, p. 111.
59c Rattray says of Ashanti: "Sasabonsám. Deriv. bonsam, a devil, or evil spirit (not the disembodied soul of any particular person, just as the fetish is not a human spirit). Its power is purely for evil and witchcraft. The obayifo is perhaps its servant, as the terms are sometimes synonymous."
Ashanti Proverbs, p. 47.
60. SPIRIT, GUARDIAN OF ENTRANCE (LEGBA)
60a Herskovits says of Haiti: ". . . they proceeded slowly to the gateway, where a ceremony was held for Legba, the guardian of entrances, that he might permit the other loa to pass."
Life in a Haitian Valley, pp. 172-73.
60b "Even at the church, however, where all go to offer the prayers that are the central observances of the fête, the many candles placed on the rocks at the entrances are usually for St. Anthony; that same St. Anthony who, it will be recalled, is the loa named Legba, the Guardian of all entrances."
Life in a Haitian Valley, p. 286.
61. SPIRIT, GUARDIAN OF BURIED TREASURE
61a Herskovits says of Haiti: "Baka are often employed to guard buried money. 'In this country, when you find money buried in jars, it is an affair of baka. There is never one jar, but always two or three, and you must call a hungan to find out which one you may take and which you must not touch. Generally the finder is allowed to take half of the treasure, for if he took all he would be tormented by the baka who had been left as guardian. Such jars, it is said, are usually found with human bones beside them or under them, and tradition has it that the slave-owners who are believed to have been strong in magic customarily killed the most evil slave on a plantation that his spirit might keep watch over the jars. If the owner never returned, the spirit of the slave, as a 'sold baka,' remained to wreak vengeance upon anyone who dared disturb his charge."
Life in a Haitian Valley, pp. 242-43.
62. SPIRITS, PLAT-EYE
62a Johnson says of St. Helena: "In the Georgetown section plat-eye is used to signify a ghost or spook. Its etymology is uncertain, and it may be an instance of an Africanism surviving in a restricted area."
Folk Culture on St. Helena Island, South Carolina, p. 58.
62b Nassau says of West Africa: "Another manifestation is that of the uvengwa. . . . It is the self-resurrected spirit and body of a dead human being. It is an object of dread, and is never worshipped in any manner whatever. Why it appears is not known. Perhaps it shows itself only in a restless, unquiet, or dissatisfied feeling. It is white in color, but the body is variously changed from the likeness of the original human body. Some say that it has only one eye, placed in the centre of the forehead. Some say that its feet are webbed like an aquatic bird. It does not speak; it only wanders, looking as if with curiosity."
Fetichism in West Africa, p. 71.
63. SPIRITS, RIVER
63a Cardinall says of the Gold Coast: "Spirits of rivers and waterholes are greatly respected. They are most powerful spirits, too. They can slay men and they can bring much good fortune. To them are brought many sacrifices of fowls and goats, etc. It is said that these spirits live below the river-bed."
The Natives of the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast, p. 34.
63b Melville and Frances Herskovits say of the Paramaribo Negro: "A fourth group of winti are those which are associated with the river. This group, as all others, overlap the Snake gods, since the constrictor lives in the water as well as on land. However, there are other gods, among them the kaimą, which are peculiar to the rivers alone. The river-gods are headed by the Liba-Mama, or Watra-Mama, respectively Mother of the River, or Mother of the Water, who, again, is not referred to by name. Among the Saramacca tribe of Bush-Negroes, the river-gods go under the generic name of Tone, and this name, like the name from the interior for the gods in general, is also sometimes employed in Paramaribo."
Suriname Folk-Lore, pp. 64-65.
63c Meek says of Nigeria: "At Eha-Amufu (Nsukka Division) there is a river-cult, the priest of which is known as the Atama Ebe. Ebe is the spirit of the river and controls the fish, who are regarded as the spiritual counterparts of the inhabitants of Eha-Amufu. The big fish are the counterparts of the principal men of the village group, while the fry are the counterparts of persons of no consequence. When a villager dies a fish dies, and when a fish dies a villager dies. It is taboo, therefore, to catch fish in the river, and much annoyance has been caused by visits of foreign fishermen who disregard the local scruples. Ebe, the spirit of the river, being the guardian of the fish, which are his children and messengers, is regarded as the giver of children to men, and is thus the object of public and private worship."
Law and Authority in a Nigerian Tribe, p. 38.
64. STEALING FROM GRAVE
64a Nassau says of the interior tribes of the West Coast: "A noticeable fact about these gifts to the spirits is that, however great a thief a man may be, he will not steal from a grave. The coveted mirror will lie there and waste in the rain, and the valuable garment will flap itself to rags in the wind, but human hands will not
touch them. Sometimes the temptation to steal is removed, by the donor fracturing the article before it is laid on the grave."
Fetichism in West Africa, p. 232.
65a Bosman says of Guinea: "Each Person here is forbidden the eating of one sort of Flesh or other; one eats no Mutton, another no Goats-Flesh, Beef, Swines-Flesh, Wild-Fowl, Cocks with white feathers, &c. This Restraint is not laid upon them for a limited time, but for their whole Lives: And if the Romanists brag of the Antiquities of their Ecclesiastical Commands; so if you ask the Negroes why they do this, they will readily tell you, because their Ancestors did so from the beginning of the World and it hath been handed down from one Age to another by Tradition. The Son never eats what the Father is restrained from, as the Daughter herein follows the Mother's Example; and this Rule is as strictly observed amongst them, that 'tis impossible to persuade them to the contrary."
Description of the Coast of Guinea, pp. 154-55.
65b Burton says of the Dahomean: "Some are allowed to eat beef, others only mutton; many are prohibited to touch the flesh of goats. Poultry is permitted to some, eggs to others."
A Mission to Gelele, King of Dahome, II, 361-62.
65c Ellis says of the Ewe: "The usual reverence is paid by the members of a clan to the animal or plant from which the clan takes its name. It may not be used as food, or molested in any way; but must always be treated with veneration and respect. The general notion is that the members of the clan are directly descended from the animal, or plant, eponymous."
The Ewe-Speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West Africa, p. 100.
65d Ellis says of the Tshi: "With some races the reverence originally felt for the deceased ancestor, and in later times transferred to the animal for which he was named, culminates in the animal being regarded as a tutelary deity, and consequently a being to be worshipped and propitiated by sacrifice; but in other cases-and this is almost always the case with the family divisions of the natives of the Gold Coast-an abstention from the use of the flesh of the animal whose name the family bears, is sometimes the only remaining sign of any feeling of reverence or respect."
The Tshi-Speaking Peoples of the Gold Coast of West Africa, p. 206.
65e Melville and Frances Herskovits say of the Suriname Negro: "An illness may be caused by . . . an unconscious violation, arising out of the fact that a man's mother had never told him the name of his true father, and consequently he had been observing food taboos which were not his own and had been neglecting to observe those which were his, since, as we have seen, these personal food taboos are inherited from the father."
Suriname Folk-Lore, pp. 59-60.
66. TEETH, CHILDREN BORN WITH
66a Meek says of Nigeria: "Children born feet first or with teeth or any deformity were also destroyed, on the ground that they were incarnations of evil spirits."
Law and Authority in a Nigerian Tribe, pp. 290-91.
66b Thomas says of the Ibo of Nigeria: "Not only twins, but many other children are, or were, exposed because of some circumstance connected with their birth or development. For example, a child born with teeth is regarded as a monster who will bring misfortune on its father-perhaps the belief may be that it will devour him. . . ."
Anthropological Report on the Ibo-Speaking Peoples of Nigeria, I, pp. 10-11.
67a Melville and Frances Herskovits say of the Suriname Negro: "Twins, and the child born after twins, who is called Dosu, and children born feet foremost, are in a category by themselves, and they are often spoken of as ɔgri. . . . bad."
Suriname Folk-Lore, p. 42.
67b Meek says of Nigeria: "And twins were allowed to die or were deliberately killed by being enclosed in a pot or ant-hill. For the Ibo hold the common belief that the birth of twins is an indication of the disfavour of the spirits, and a punishment, possibly of adultery. Twin-births are regarded as non-human, and it is a common belief that the chi or accompanying soul of a twin is the chi of an animal. After the birth of twins a diviner is consulted to ascertain which spirit or ancestor had been offended, and sacrifice is offered to appease his wrath."
Law and Authority in a Nigerian Tribe, p. 291.
67c Nassau says of Africa: "All over Africa the birth of twins is a notable event, but noted for very different reasons in different
parts of the country. In Calabar they are dreaded as an evil omen, and until recently were immediately put to death, and the mother driven from the village to live alone in the forest as a punishment for having brought this evil on her people.
"In other parts, as in the Gabun country, where they are welcomed, it is nevertheless considered necessary to have special ceremonies performed for the safety of their lives, or, if they die, to prevent further evil."
Fetichism in West Africa, p. 206.
68. WITCHES, ANIMAL FORM
68a Herskovits says of Dahomey: "The azɔ̨ndato, as such practitioners are called, are spoken of in whispers, and are said to be organized into a close guild. They exercise power over the souls of those who have not had proper burial and therefore wander about the earth discontented, and over these souls procured by 'killing' their owners in the manner described above. These azɔ̨ndato are to be recognized by their blood-shot eyes, and Dahomeans stealthily point out two or three such persons in the market-place who usually may be remarked to be doing somewhat better business than those who sit near them. These dangerous individuals change into bats at night, or assume other animal forms and go forth to hold council together or to perform their dark deeds."
Dahomey, II, 287.
68b Meek says of Nigeria: "Witches (amozu) and wizards (ogboma) have also animal counterparts, and so assume the forms of owls, lizards, vultures, and numerous species of night-birds. Consequently, if a night-bird comes and rests on a house, the owner loses no time in trying to drive it away or shoot it; and if he fails he will seize his ofo and call on his ancestors or any local deity to rid him of his enemy. A witch always assails at night. By magic means she attacks the throat, so that the victim is paralysed and cannot move or speak, and in the morning may be found lying senseless and naked outside his hut. . . . Witches can penetrate into a house through the smallest cracks in the wall, and can assume the form of the smallest insect. Flies and other creatures which bite are witches or the agents of witches, and if a person is severely bitten he may consult a diviner, who will order the patient to offer sacrifice to propitiate some witch, and induce the witch to remove the spell by transferring it to some one else. Witches can poison food or infect it with sorcery, and if any one eats a meal cooked by a witch he will become seriously ill or die. Mothers,
therefore, advise their children to avoid eating food outside their own homes."
Law and Authority in a Nigerian Tribe, pp. 79-80.
68c Talbot says of Southern Nigeria: "Witches often change into leopards and other animals."
The Peoples of Southern Nigeria, II, 219.
68d "Witchcraft seems to have been more dreaded in the Oru clan than among any other Ibo. . . . They can change into crocodiles, fish, leopards, bush-cows, snakes and goats."
The Peoples of Southern Nigeria, II, 213.
68e Farrow says: "The witch-doctor is, of course, a privileged person. He is called in to trace the source of disease and death, for these are generally attributed to witchcraft, unless they are evidently caused by the vengeance of Shopono (smallpox), Shango, or some similar deity. Various forms of disease are described as 'snakes inside' (ejo-inu), 'an insect' (kokoro), etc., and it is supposed that these have been introduced by a foe through the agency of witchcraft."
Faith, Fancies and Fetish, p. 125.
69. WITCHES, RIDING VICTIMS
69a Ellis says of the Vais: "There is a belief, as I have stated, among the Vais that witches come to your house and ride you at night,--that when the witch comes in the door he takes off his skin and lays it aside in the house. It is believed that he returns you to the Ned where he found you, and that the witch may be killed by sprinkling salt and pepper in certain portions of the room, which will prevent the witch from putting on his skin. Just before they go to bed it is a common thing to see Vais people sprinkling salt and pepper about the room."
Negro Culture in West Africa, p. 63.
69b Leonard says: "In Brass the natives firmly believe that witches exist, and that certain persons by natural operations--or rather by co-operation with natural forces--possess the power of inflicting disease, injury, or death upon their neighbours. These individuals are divided into two classes--the harmful and the harmless.
"The former are said to go out of their houses at night, and to hold meetings with demons and their colleagues, to determine whose life is next to be destroyed. This is done by gradually sucking the blood of the victim through some supernatural and invisible
means the effect of which on the victim is imperceptible to others."
The Lower Niger and Its Tribes, p. 486.
69c Rattray says of Ashanti: "Men and women possessed of this black magic are credited with volitant powers, being able to quit their bodies and travel great distances in the night. Besides sucking the blood of victims, they are supposed to be able to extract the sap and juices of crops."
Ashanti Proverbs, p. 48.
70. WOODCARVING AND WEAVING
70a Herskovits says: "In West Africa, the development of techniques of all kinds is the greatest on the continent. The Benin bronzes, the brass-work of Dahomey, the weaving of the Ashanti, or the wood carving of the Ivory Coast, Dahomey, and Nigeria are famous, while pottery of a high grade, basketry, and iron work are found everywhere."
Social History of the Negro, p. 221.
70b Herskovits says of the Bush Negro: "In the villages of the Bush Negroes the artist holds an enviable position, and the good carver is sought after in marriage and often wins the most desirable young woman for his wife. This is because Suriname woodcarving is a part of all phases of life."
Social History of the Negro, p. 247.
70c Herskovits says of Dahomey: "But, as stated, the greatest proportion of objects are intended for some specific end. The spotted hyena, for example, formed a handle for the staff of a chief. The two wands with human figures on them are employed in the Fá cult. The three figures in the background of the same plate, representing a woman, an animal, and a bird respectively, support cups which hold the seeds employed in the Fate cult.
Dahomey, II, 370.
70d "Wood-carving is the most democratic, and the most widely practiced, of all the arts. It constitutes the one mode of artistic expression open to all men in Dahomey, for, as in many cultures, wood-carving is not a technique permitted to women. In addition, however, to the democratic nature of the art it pervades the daily life of the people to a greater degree than any other art-form, and a catalogue of the uses to which the objects carved in wood are put by the Dahomeans would touch upon all elements of Dahomean culture. Carvings thus catalogued would range from the artistic
statuettes found in the shrines of the gods and the smaller human figures used as gbo^, the beautifully carved cups which hold the palm-kernels employed in the Fá cult, and the carefully worked handles of the Xεvioso axes, all of which indicate the association of wood-carving with religion, to the mortars, stools, and other decorated objects used in the everyday round of life."
Dahomey, II, 363.
70e "Among these forms are plastic and graphic arts, music, dancing and a wide range of oral literature. In the former group woodcarving is the most widespread and the most commonly practised. As will be indicated in detail below, carvings in wood enter many phases of life. Statues of the gods, human forms which, as gbo^, protect the owner and his household, and the implements of the Fate cult, are all a part of the religious life. The sceptres of King and chiefs, and the elaborately carved stools on which they sat were indispensable symbols of rank and succession. The wands of office and stools of sib-chiefs associate this art with social organisation, especially where the totem animal is figured, while even the adjí game-boards of the Dahomeans are embellished by the carvings of the artist."
Dahomey, II, 311.
70f Melville and Frances Herskovits say of the Bush Negro of Dutch Guiana: "There were other carvings which we bought-a large rice-carrying tray, and some food stirrers, one of which was especially fine, made as it was of two small paddles with miniature blades, the handles joined by a wooden ring-chain, and all of this carved out of one piece of wood."
Rebel Destiny, p. 277.
70g "Few things on the river seemed to the outsiders more characteristic of the life of the Saramacca people than these carvings which were met with everywhere, however small the village, however poor the home. When the seasonal rains came, men incised their desires on wood, which later told the legend of procreation, or safety on the river, or a curse invoked against a woman if she proved unfaithful; or something of humor, such as a man bidding for a girl's favor, and she refusing him, while up above intertwined were a man and woman, symbolizing the ultimate consummation with the proper suitor."
Rebel Destiny, pp. 277-78.
70h Talbot says of the Sudanese tribes: "Carving in wood is common among all tribes, but is for the most part rather crude. In all
cases articles were as far as possible made from the solid block; never nailed or glued together."
The Peoples of Southern Nigeria, III, 928.
70i "The varieties of woven work include checker, twilled and wicker; others are plaited, and there are several sorts of coiled basketry. The oblong market baskets used by the women, particularly among the Ibo and many of the Semi-Bantu tribes, closely resemble those of the Ancient Egyptians."
The Peoples of Southern Nigeria, III, 938.