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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Black and White: The Use of Dualities in Etulo Historical Thought
Author:Shain, Richard
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Geographic term:Nigeria
traditional polities
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1580941.pdf
Abstract:The Etulo are a riverain people, living in nine wards along the banks of the Katsina-Ala river in Benue State, Nigeria. Since the 18th century, their government has mainly revolved around two sources of power, a sacral king known as the Otse-Etulo and an elaborate network of titleholders, the Ato-Otse. The Ato-Otse are divided into two categories: a majority associated with the colour white, and a minority, described as 'black'. There are 19 white Ato-Otse who are mainly involved in such activities as hunting and fishing, and serving as the king's bodyguard and spokesmen. The 6 black titleholders engage partly in 'millet' cultivation and beer production, partly they are or were territorial chiefs. After a short survey of studies on colour classification in Africa, the author deals with colour symbolism among the Etulo, and shows that their manipulation of colour categories has linked cosmological structure and historical events to the ultimate advantage of the king. Through a process of encompassment, the Otse-Etulo has been able to situate himself at the intersection of overlapping spheres, and to thus amplify his ritual and personal authority. Bibliogr., notes, ref.