Surviving Works: context in Verre arts

Interleaf: 'Brass Work of Adamawa': a display cabinet in the Jos Museum - 1967

Tim Chappel, Richard Fardon and Klaus Piepel

Special Issue

Vestiges: Traces of Record Vol 7 (1) (2021)

ISSN: 2058-1963

Preface and Acknowledgements ( HTML | PDF )


Chapter 1 The Verre ( HTML | PDF )

Chapter 2 Documenting the early colonial assemblage - 1900s to 1910s ( HTML | PDF )

Chapter 3 Documenting the early post-colonial assemblage - 1960s to 1970s ( HTML | PDF )

Interleaf 'Brass Work of Adamawa': a display cabinet in the Jos Museum - 1967 ( HTML | PDF )


Chapter 4 Brass skeuomorphs: thinking about originals and copies ( HTML | PDF )

Chapter 5 Towards a catalogue raisonnée

5.1 Percussion ( HTML | PDF )

5.2 Personal Ornaments ( HTML | PDF )

5.3 Initiation helmets and crooks ( HTML | PDF )

5.4 Hoes and daggers ( HTML | PDF )

5.5 Prestige skeuomorphs ( HTML | PDF )

5.6 Anthropomorphic figures ( HTML | PDF )

Chapter 6 Conclusion: late works - Verre brasscasting in context ( HTML | PDF )


Appendix 1 The Verre collection in the Jos and Lagos Museums in Nigeria ( HTML | PDF )

Appendix 2 Chappel's Verre vendors ( HTML | PDF )

Appendix 3 A glossary of Verre terms for objects, their uses and descriptions ( HTML | PDF )

Appendix 4 Leo Frobenius's unpublished Verre ethnological notes and part inventory ( HTML | PDF )

Bibliography ( HTML | PDF )

Interleaf 'Brass Work of Adamawa': a display cabinet in the Jos Museum - 1967

Three photographs of a vitrine case installed at the Jos Museum the 1967 were sent to Tim Chappel. On the reverse, they are inscribed, 'Background: blue velvet. Above window, against the velvet, in red letters is Brass Work of Adamawa (in Hausa too). Labeling on transparent plastic under glass on the wooden frame outside the case. Frames slanting outwards.' In the event, as we see below, the display also included some iron works. It is suggested by the sender that the photographs be fitted together to appreciate the full installation, but this is made difficult by them having been taken from different angles. Below we have instead set them alongside one another.

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Display case in Jos (left, centre and right) 1967

As well as an insight into a moment in the history of the Jos museum, these photographs provide a glimpse of some objects for which we otherwise lack visual reference. Jos accession numbers below are in bold. We omit the year, place and number for the series of objects Chappel collected in 1966: J66.11.NNN simply citing the object number NNN.


Photographs by Carolyn Bassing 1967

(Clicking on the images will open a higher quality version)

From left to right:-

Hung on the left wall: unsheathed dagger with, presumably brass, ornate hilt and its scabbard, anthropomorphic central boss suggests it might be 619.

Suspended: large bell (bix, Type 2, see Chapter 5 Percussion, similar to some of those for which we have illustrations, notably 732 which has the most extensive shoulder ornamentation and may have been selected for display on that account); brass circumcision helmet (of those we know, most similar to 256 with feathers rather than reedbuck hairs); since the cowries appear to be real, the second hanging helmet is probably of fibre selected for comparison with its brass skeuomorph (similar to 425 or 426, although neither of these has feather ornaments); large bell (of our Type 1 in Chapter 5.1; most similar to 602 with a large suspension ring and small crotal ornaments around the shoulder; probably chosen because it is unusual in Chappel's collection of Type 1 bells, which predominantly have the less complex form of beaded shoulder decoration, it closely resembles the bell collected by Frobenius, now in Dresden Museum, though this would not have been known at the time).

Hung on back wall: dagger with brass hilt and scabbard both of the design we analyse as Type 1 in Chapter 5.4, the single crotal to each side of a bearded head on the pommel suggests 593 which has lost two of its original crotals, and the fine scabbard ornamented with circle and diamond patterns is also a match; brass sandals 494.

On the bottom left of the plinth: dagger with brass hilt and sheath (unidentifiable but of Type 2, with seven features on handle), staff in brass, gbala; in front of plinth: small skeuomorph of an amulet, 65.J306.113, of Verre manufacture but collected from Bata, ring bracelet, small bunch of brass crotals, small pendant possibly 72.J19.79-80; on the plinth: pipe bowl with masquerade head 809, finger? rings, small knife and sheath hung with rings which most closely corresponds a slide from the Arnold Rubin archive, which in turn resembles a sketch by Nancy Maas of a Bachama cult object, 65.J306.105, …

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UCKL Maas note

UCLA Fowler Museum
Box 11

… brass medicine container 589 or perhaps 585, threaded crotal bells, 2 pipe rings (see the complete pipes for their use) and bunch of small pendants on a thread?; to the bottom right of the plinth: three complete smoking pipes (one upright on its integral stand/foot with a decorative ring; similar although not identical to an example of which there is a slide in the Arnold Rubin archive; both examples have a small phallic protrusion; tobacco implements for smoking and snuff taking were in use regionally and are hence difficult to place);


UCLA Fowler Museum
Box 11

on and in front of second plinth: brass beer jar (not among those for which we have illustrations) standing on a pot ring, brass crook with loop at the handle (apparently formed by the backswept horns of an animal, possibly 561, see also next, central photograph).


(Clicking on the images will open a higher quality version)

On back wall: brass skeuomorph of gourd drinking bowl with suspension ring 537.

On bottom: brass skeuomorph of gourd drinking bowl covered in coil pattern 438, brass goblet 731, on plinth: brass skeuomorph of gourd drinking bowl, 499, in front of which: waist beads and bead necklace; on plinth double iron hoe 495; on bottom: square bladed brass hoe (305 is the only hoe noted specifically as having a square blade, though we have no illustration; comparison with other objects suggests this to be a large example), hip pendant in the form of an oversized bead - skeuomorph of cowry cluster, Toft Hansen figure (accession number unknown, see Chapter 5.6); on plinth: brass figure 753.


Suspended: iron bow puller; brass double clapperless bell/handgong 579; Bata iron double clapperless bell/handgong 65.J306.210a, behind it a large Fulani mat/food bowl cover.

On bottom, mat and plinth: 5 brass cuffs (upright on plinth, a sleeve with open side; upright in front of the plinth is one of the cuffs with spiral decoration like 65.J306.73/74/444; two cuffs more on Fulani woven mat/food bowl cover); two crotal bells, two brass musical pipes (straight and without stops for Gazabi; twisted and with stops for Tibaai) 491 and 530, iron rattle with central clapperless bell, probably 385; right corner: small heap of items which may include threaded rings, perhaps as belt or apron.

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Cette œuvre est mise à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution (4.0 International ) qui permet à d'autres de partager le travail avec une reconnaissance de la paternité du travail et de la publication initiale dans ce journal. Images: copyright des institutions comme indiqué (tous droits réservés).

Go to Preface | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Interleaf | Chapter 4 | Ch5.1 Percussion | Ch5.2 Personal Ornaments | Ch5.3 Initiation helmets and crooks | Ch5.4 Hoes and daggers | Ch5.5 Prestige skeuomorphs | Ch5.6 Anthropomorphic figures | Chapter 6 Conclusion | Appendix 1 | Appendix 2 | Appendix 3 | Appendix 4 | Bibliography