Open daily, 10am–5pm, Free

419 Great King Street Dunedin, New Zealand

Otago Museum is open in Level 1. We are using NZ Covid Tracer or Rippl for contact tracing, please download, or use our Wi-Fi on arrival.

Doll, D88.202

Physical Description

Approx. 156mm length. Basically a length of wood/bamboo(?) with constructions of dark/black clay/dried mud on either end. One end the clay construction looks a bit like a plunger or suction cup. It is possible that this plunger is the base or stand as the artifact remains upright when this base is placed on a flat surface. The other end is a fairly elaborate dark/black clay/dried mud construction with the general appearance of a chicken/rooster's body (without the legs) sitting atop the length of wood. The beak is missing (in D88.202B this is a fragment of amber glass). The comb is a length of braided clay turned up at the end.. The eyes and mouth are tiny fragments of tin foil. A thin smooth necklace separates the head from the main body. The wings consist of a clumping of dozens of very small round clay balls roughly ordered into a set of wings - i.e. roughly formed into a 'U' shape with the ends coming out either side of the wood stick to the front of the chicken. A length of finely braided clay extends vertically down the stick between the ends of the wings apparently forming the chest of the chicken. Three fragments of the same dark clay are in the box with D88.202A & B. Two of these are horn/bent conical shaped with a hollow on one side, suggesting that one of these was shaped around the stick and attached to the base of the ' chicken forming a tail. The 3rd fragment is of the same clay, but it is unclear from which of the artifacts this originates.

Research Notes

Original documentation suggests NE Nigeria Maiduguri (Bornu province). Plant material - grass(?). Used as plate. Lengths of grass fibres laid together and then wrapped with thicker/wider lengths of grass fibre - starting at a central point and then coiled. Each coil is attached to the previous coil with this thicker/wider grass wrapping. Coils are intermittently of coloured wrapping of red, black, and natural (light yellow/tan). The central 2-4 (?) coils are hidden by a single wrapping. From the first exposed coil at the centre out to the edge there are 27 coils. Counting from the edge towards the centre, the polychrome patterning on coils 8,9,10, 11, and 12 form a pattern of 5 pyramids equally distributed around the centre (with tops of pyramids facing the centre). The final product is of a firm, sturdy and slightly flexible polychrome flat plate. Overall appearance is of a well made, little used, but aged grass plate in good condition. 1930's or before. Diameter of plate = approx. 326mm. Thickness of plate (2nd coil from edge) = approx. 7.8mm. —Joel A Vanderburg

Provenance

Donated
Locality

Measurements

Maximum dimensions (H x W x D): 160 x 30.5 x 36mm

All Rights Reserved