African Tribes mourn theft of burial statues for Western collectors
Hundreds of "vigango" totems have been looted from rural homesteads near Kenya's coast, home to the Mijikenda tribes about which little is known.
The 4ft wooden statues, carved with triangular etchings and believed to incarnate the spirits of dead elders, are shipped via dealers living in luxury beachside villas to private collectors in the United States and Europe.
"Moving these objects goes against every cultural and spiritual belief of these people, and they are too afraid to put them up now because they are sure they will be stolen," said Monica Udvardy, anthropology professor at the University of Kentucky and a specialist in east African tribal customs.
"It would be like us stealing our grandfather's tombstone or our grandmother's ashes, and selling them."
comments powered by Disqus
- Senate has a secret book of rules
- How the Vikings Saved Europe and Got a Terrible Reputation
- Hard Hats On: Members of the Media Tour Exhibits under Construction at the National Museum of American History
- Shaman dancers, coolies and suffragettes: rare photos of 1900s Beijing discovered from Austrian archive
- England's King Richard III died painfully on battlefield
- Pro-Israel groups going after federal support of Middle East Studies
- 100th Anniversary of Beard's 'An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution' commemorated
- University of Illinois Bigwig to Native American Studies scholar Jean O’Brien: Drop Dead
- 2 of 21 MacArthur Fellows for 2014 are historians
- Ken Burns electrifies Jon Stewart show