Native Manufacturers at Iddah
This engraving of Idah, the capital of the Igala kingdom, in the Bight of Biafra hinterland shows houses, a mortar and pestle for pounding grain, iron workers with bellows and pits for dying cotton cloth. Allen wrote "nearly all the dwellings of Iddah are circular. . . and are built of clay and small stones intermixed. The roof is conical, made of palm-leaves. . . The overhanging edge of the roof protects from sun and rain. . . The cloth is kept saturated in the pit for a fortnight, and sometimes three weeks, and certainly the colours are most beautiful. . . the swords, spear-heads, arrows, are well tempered and not badly finished. The bellows are merely two wooden cylinders, each with a piston, and a piece of loose hide securely fastened around the handle and the top of the tube; by alternately depressing one and raising the other, a continuous current of air is conveyed through earthen pipes leading the fire" ( p. 318 and 322-23). William Allen (1792–1864) was an English naval officer and explorer. Thomas Richard Heywood Thomson (1813–1876) was an English explorer and naturalist. They took part in the Niger expedition to map the course of the river.
William Allen and Thomas Richard Heywood Thomson, A Narrative of the Expedition sent by Her Majesty's Government to the River Niger, in 1841, vol. 1 (London: R. Bentley, 1848), p. 323.
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"Native Manufacturers at Iddah", Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora, accessed February 2, 2023, http://www.slaveryimages.org/s/slaveryimages/item/2191