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Tien

Tien

Culture Group: Kru peoples (possibly)
Culture: Kru; Grebo
Date: n.d.
Medium: Brass
Dimensions:
3 1/8 x 11 7/16 x 11 7/16 inches (8 x 29 x 29 cm)
Classification: Numismatics
Credit Line: George Way Harley Memorial Collection, Duke University
Label Text:The origin of these objects is not known with certainty, except for the fact that they were made and used among the Kru and the Grebo in southeastern Liberia. According to one source, the Kru and Grebo believe these objects to be living creatures that can be found in creeks, rivers and lagoons. They call them ‘tien’,‘nitien’ or ‘Dwin’ meaning water spirits or ‘Gods of water’. A variety of powers are attributed to them including the ability to stop wars, found villages, heal the sick and guarantee fertility. They are also capable to catch people crossing these streams. The Kru and Grebo believe that the ‘tien’ live in the water but can be caught and brought to town where they may be enjoined to serve as protector or guardians (Siegmann, 1977, p. 82).
Provenance: Found in Tchien region of Liberia.
Object number: L.2.1974.162