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Parent Record
No. 9
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Publication: 1910. Alldridge, Thomas J. A Transformed Colony: Sierra Leone as it Was, and as it Is. Its Progress, Peoples, Native Customs and Undeveloped Wealth..

Original language: English

Caption: Numori. Steatite figures found in caves and supposed to be of very great antiquity

Text: "I [Anderson] have made a study of these figures for over seven years, and find that almost every one now to be obtained in the Protectorate [of Sierra Leone] is not quite finished, there is some small part left incomplete; and if carefully examined, the reason is found to be that just at that spot there is a slight flaw in the stone, a small vein or pocket of mica which causes the stone to flake and break away. Now this fact bears out this story of how they are found as told to me by the natives. It is as follows: The figures were carved 'in situ' in the vein of steatite, and not separated from the mother rock until quite complete. If the slightest flaw was discovered another was commenced; therefore, when one of these old sculptor's shops is discovered, a large number of abandoned figures are found still to be attached to the rock. the natives separate them and carry them to their farms or towns. I can vouch for the truth of this statement, as the remains of one of these workings was shown to me in the Fulu Wusu country, and by careful search, I found a figure still attached to the rock. This I separated, and it is now in the Imperial Institute." (p. 288)

Illustrator: Garrett, G.H. and/or T. J. Alldridge Garrett, G.H. and/or T. J. Alldridge, (all?) photographs taken from negatives of Mr. G.H. Garrett and his expedition to chief Almami Samodu
Illustration technique: b/w studio photograph

Publication page: facing 286

Publication plate/figure: plate

Related images: Alldridge published this image in 1910 & 1913: see #s 9, 2405 Figure, far left: cf. figure published in 1907: #862.3/1 Figure, bottom, one from right: cf. figure published in 1908: #968.3/1

• Sierra Leone (Country, region, place)
• steatite (Materials and techniques)
• carved stone (Materials and techniques)
• soapstone (Materials and techniques)
• statuette (Object name, type)
• nomoli (Object name, type)
• sculpture (Object name, type)
• Kissi (Style, culture group)
• Mende (Style, culture group)

• Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford? (Current collection)

Susan Kart, (12/18/2003): SK/CP; ref. see F. Lamp in African Arts (1990) 23:2 and idem in Art Bulletin (1983) 65:2, Hart in Quaderni Poro, 1995, No. 3 and Volem, 1993 in History in Africa. SK: the section of Chapter XXIX (pp. 286-289) on Steatite Carvings is written by Major G. D'Arcy Anderson, District Commissioner of Konno country (as per text p. 286). Anderson does not speak of the objects in this photo per se, the above citation is general in nature.
JJR: This image also appears in a review of Alldridge's book in "Nature" (London) vol. 83, No. 2122, June 30, 1910, p. 524. -JJR.

Costa Petridis, (11/25/2006): I assume the Volem in the SK/CP note should be "idem" and thus refers to Fred Lamp's article in the Art Bulletin...

Jim Ross, (4/18/2011):

For a general overview, see Raoul Lehuard's article Stili Potere - Les Styles Du Pouvoir on pp25-9 in the Printemps 1990 issue (no. 73) of Arts d'Afrique Noire.