Object: Sandals

Wooden Shoes (Sandals)

Ethnic Group Unknown, Republic of Liberia, Western Africa
before 1969
Materials: wood, plant fiber

Here is a pair of carved wooden sandals (shoes) from the SNOMNH Division of Ethnology’s small African holdings. The collection records for this accession, which came to the museum in 1969, are not very detailed, but they indicate that these sandals originated in Liberia, the coastal West African nation colonized in the 19th century by African Americans from the United States of America. Hopefully those knowledgeable of Liberian woodcarving and footwear can help the museum better understand the use and background of these remarkable items. Visitors interested in seeing another pair of Liberian sandals from an American museum collection can find a very beautiful, and better-documented pair, in this instance of painted or dyed animal hide, in the collections of the Department of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). To see them, go to http://anthro.amnh.org/anthro.html and select the African Ethnographic Collection Database. One can search in Liberia for “Sandal” or look for 90.1/6755 AB, the catalog number given to this pair, which are attributed to the Malinké people. [Jason Baird Jackson]



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Ethnology @ SNOMNH is an experimental weblog for sharing the collections of the Division of Ethnology at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.


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