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Thursday, January 04, 2018

ESIE SOAPSTONE COLLECTIONS; A TRADITION PROTECTED BY CIVILIZATION.



Imagine this scenario. You’re a hunter of experienced years. One day while hunting in a place you’re quite familiar with, you see about 1,500 buried white heads under a palm tree. What do you do?
  • Stand and start chanting incantation?
  • Run and call for help?

Cross section of the collection
I am positive you’d do what I’ll do. Drop my guns and run till I see real people who aren’t buried underground. That was what Baragbon did in 1775 when he encountered a mass grave of buried humanoid stones while hunting in a bush he has raided for years. Baragbon didn’t run home, he ran to the King’s palace to inform him. His Royal majesty in all reverence moved to the site Baragbon described and as soon as they reach there, the King ran back to the Palace. The King ran from the site, but could not get the sight out of his head. He called his Ifa diviners to come and explain what terrible thing it was that afflicted his land. Up and down, to and fro, incantations, divinations, and the diviners finally come up with an explanation.

Some of the collection
They were the bodies of a migrant people who met their end from disrespecting supernatural directives. They were seeking for a place to settle; having angered the gods in their former place. Their King was not supposed to farm as it was disrespect to the crown, but this King did, and angered the gods. He left home with his people in search of a new place, but was met by the wrath of the gods. And poof, they became soapstone figures.

The diviners of Esie, the host location, after making sacrifices, directed that all the soapstone figures be exhumed. The King, however, was to never see the figures. It became a custom for subsequent Kings. The figures were exhumed, about 1,500 of them – with some breaking – and left under the palm tree where they were exhumed from. An Ayanrun was selected to be the custodian of the figures, and this birthed an annual sacrifice and homage paying to the most decorated of the figures – presumed to be their kings.

This story has been rebutted by scientists. How does a god turn its worshippers to stones? How does a god keep all the worshippers in a sitting or kneeling position before turning them to stones. Custodians of oral traditions have countered that the facial expression of the stones are different, some relaxed, some perplexed, some excited. And of course, there were a few of them playing musical instruments. The orthodoxies also contend that no two figures look exactly the same. Archaeologists concluded that the images were carved. Traditionalists say if the over 1,500 were carved, who carved them? For what purpose were they carved?

In 1945, after 170 years of exposure, Federal Government built a national Museum around the site of the discovery. The National Museum, Ere – Esie came to be. The figures were moved from the outside exposure to a cooler confinement, until 1966, when the Museum was once again renovated. 243 years after discovery and the mystery is yet to meet any logical breakthrough.


Visitors traffic board
Tourists visit the site in droves annually to see the largest soapstone collection in the world and to ask the question, “How did they come to be?” The walls of civilization which the Museum has built around the figures continue to house the questions, and maybe someday, one of the figures will revert to its human form and tell us what happened in 1775 – or maybe not.


What are your thoughts? What school of thought d you trust?

Princely X











2 comments:

  1. Bobo. You dey enjoy life O. You just dey travel everywhere

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Boss. What's life without a few escapades? Lol.

      Delete

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