• Short Summary

    The restoration of Lamu Town on the island of Lamu off the north coast of Kenya has brought to life an exquisite, decorative craft that had been lost since the days of the Sultans, 150 years ago.

  • Description

    The restoration of Lamu Town on the island of Lamu off the north coast of Kenya has brought to life an exquisite, decorative craft that had been lost since the days of the Sultans, 150 years ago.

    Lamu, which had its first period of greatness in the 13th century, was one of the last towns on the East African coast of flourish before the arrival of the European colonists -- and today it is the best preserved.

    As some of the town's beautiful ruined mansions have begun to be restored -- by the Government for official use and by private owners with an interest in history -- a unique style of carved plaster decoration has been taken up by the modern craftsmen where their forefathers mysteriously left it off years ago.

    The plaster carving was the chief beauty of the houses of Lamu, Pate, Siyu and many other coastal towns during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

    It is not known precisely how, or when, the craft came into being, but it could have been an adaption in plaster of coral decorations which probably adorned the old houses.

    The decoration was applied mostly around wall niches, forming complex arabesques of fantastic design. Suddenly, around 1800, the means--or the desire--to decorate the houses in this unique way seems to have disappeared.

    Now, it has been resurrected by the local craftsmen who have been employed on the restorations. They soon developed a formula for plaster that closely resembles the authentic material--although only time will tell if it will prove as hard-wearing.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA3SJLLOO0UJB2ZHVUXR0RHC9P
    Media URN:
    VLVA3SJLLOO0UJB2ZHVUXR0RHC9P
    Group:
    Reuters - Incuding Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    10/03/1975
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:01:38:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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