Okpu: Ancestral Houses in Nembe and European Antiquities on the Brass and Nun Rivers of the Niger Delta
This study considers the important institution of the the Okpu, from a historical perspective but always with an eye to its future, treating it as a living cultural phenomenem. The Okpu are here compared, at a primary level, to the pyramids of ancient Egypt. They are the burial site of ancestors over which shrines, mausoleums, houses or monuments are erected, and represent a major cultural resource among the Nembe people of the Eastern Delta. The study also provides an account of the artifacts left behind by European visitors to the Brass and Nun rivers, in order to present a rounded view of the Nembe in the Niger Delta. It traces how the earliest Okpu were simple structures and the rise of their sophistication in the early twentieth century coincided with the intrusion of Western ideas and Christianity which put the values underpinning the Okpu in retreat. However despite this intrusion, the author concludes the Okpu tradition is complex and changing, has adapted itself to history and remains strong.
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Akassa Akpa Alagoa alapu-ogidi Altar ancestor Anda-igbogi Anthony Ockiya Bassambiri bottles Brass River British buried canoe cement blocks cemetery century clay cultural dead divination Duguruyai Ebebege Ebifa Elemah ensigns European grave functions funeral glass grave at Twqn heraldic symbols house group Igbeta Igbo ikpa interior of okpu iron Iru-sara-opogolo Kalabari Kariyai Kemmer King Boy Amain King Constantine Ockiya King Ikata King Jacket King Josiah Constantine King Ogbodo Koko Kulo late Chief Libation holes Libation holes-Iru-sara-opogolo lineage living Lokoja Mangrove Museum manilla medicine pot Nembe area Niger Delta Nigerian flag nineteenth Ogbolomabiri Ogio Okpoama okpu of Chief okpu of King overseas trade Owagi palm oil Pegi Peresuo Plate pouring libations present okpu priest Qgbanj raffia representation represents ritual basket River Niger roof Royal Niger Company Sagbe Saifigha shrine side rooms Skulls slit drums Sotonye Afiesamama Fig spears spirits structures sword talking drum tanda tion tradition wall