Monday, August 27, 2012

The Soapstone sculptures of Esie

Nigeria's oldest museum is at Esie in Kwara State (midway between Osogbo and Ilorin).  The museum contains over 800 soapstone statues, and has a brand new extension with examples of sculpture and masks from across Nigeria.  It is well worth the detour to get to the museum.  Scholarly research suggests that the figures were made by the Nupe after they sacked Oyo.  The figures are therefore dated between the 11th and the 15th centuries.  Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take photos in the museum and there are no postcards or books available to buy there, so I had to take the picture below with my phone (hence the poor quality).  It is a real pity that photography is not allowed. It keeps the museum as one of Nigeria's best kept secrets, when it should be thronging with school children finding out about the wonders of their cultural heritage.


5 comments:

Anonymous,  6:26 p.m.  

some more pictures here:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305440307002130

Sandrine

Oguro,  10:00 a.m.  

Went there on a school trip in 1981, was memorable! we all loved it. Good to see it's still there.

Anonymous,  11:17 a.m.  

Good one Jeremy, keep up the good work :) we should make you Minister of Culture, the best Blog for Nigerian history as far as am concerned

Anonymous,  12:15 a.m.  

Jeremy knows more about Nigerian history than most of us...

Buki 11:23 p.m.  

My mother in law is always talking about this place. Though she maintains it is actual humans that turned to stones for what ever reason. Wish I had pictures to show her. Buki.

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