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Tortoise in Legend

Samuel Amos and Bruce Onobrakpeya
African Arts
Vol. 4, No. 1 (Autumn, 1970), pp. 26-35
DOI: 10.2307/3334473
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3334473
Page Count: 10
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Tortoise in Legend
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Abstract

The following folktales stem from the oral literature of the Ibo people of Nigeria. They were collected and narrated by a previously unpublished young writer, Samuel Amos, whose background and heritage encompass that literature. The tortoise character around whom the tales center represents the Ibo counterpart of the traditional trickster personality found in various forms throughout most of African oral literature. His adventures reveal a great deal concerning Ibo values, beliefs and customs in their traditional context. The paintings presented are the work of Bruce Onobrakpeya, a highly successful and increasingly well-known artist whose work has been exhibited extensively in Nigeria and abroad (African Arts/Arts d'Afrique, Vol. II, No. 2 and Vol. III, No. 3). These paintings are a selection from a larger group on the tortoise character. Though done independently of Mr. Amos' stories, these works add an expanded dimension and sensitivity to the understanding of the tortoise as a symbol, an individual, and the vital embodiment of one aspect of a people's culture sustained for hundreds of years.

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