Fulani Blacksmith, Sierra Leone, 1834

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This record was last updated on 27 Dec 2012

Image Reference

F. Harrison Rankin, The white man's grave: a visit to Sierra Leone, in 1834 (London, 1836),Vol. 1, facing p. 128.

Titled, "Foulah Blacksmith," the author writes that in the Foulah [Fulani] quarter of Freetown, artisans can be seen employed in various trades. "Sitting upon the ground, the Foulah [blacksmith] holds his strange rude bellows between his legs, and contrives to heat his metal in a little heap of glowing charcoal." The bellows comprised of gourds covered with skin "are connected together by two hollow bamboos inserted into their sides and uniting at an angle." The construction of the bellows, how they are used and worked, and the appearance of the blacksmith are described; the blacksmith is also "the whitesmith, gunsmith, armourer, gold-worker, jeweler, and silversmith of the place," unlike the English blacksmith (pp. 128-130).