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Boat seat with Spider Web Design, Owned and used by Storyteller, Deborah Azareno in Ecuador

Maker Unidentified and Gift of Juan Garcia Salazar

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

This seat is the first object that was acquired by the Museum. The donor, Juan García, researches and records storytelling traditions of Afro-Ecuadoran communities. García received this stool from Deborah Azareno, who used the stool on the waterways of Ecuador’s Esmeraldas province over 60 years ago; she used the stool in her dugout canoe during the day and brought it into her home in the evenings to sit on while she told her grandson stories.

The spider image on the boat seat possibly references the character of Anansi, the clever spider, who is prominently featured in storytelling traditions of West Africa, the West Indies and the Southern United States. Enslaved Africans were taken to the West Indies and to the Southern United States, and they carried the Anansi stories with them. The names of the spider tales were transposed and became Nancy stories in the West Indies and Aunt Nancy in the southern states in America.

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Details

  • Title: Boat seat with Spider Web Design, Owned and used by Storyteller, Deborah Azareno in Ecuador
  • Creator: Maker Unidentified, Gift of Juan Garcia Salazar
  • Physical Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 12 7/8 x 14 3/4 in. (14 x 32.7 x 37.5 cm)
  • Subject Keywords: Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Rights: No Known Copyright Restrictions
  • External Link: View other wooden objects in the NMAAHC Collection
  • Medium: wood

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