By Heidi J. Nast
Drawing on her box paintings within the palace among 1988 and 2003, Nast (international stories, DePaul U., Chicago) provides a historic geographical account of royal concubinage within the huge palace of Kano, Nigeria, outfitted approximately 1500 and this day inhabited by way of over one thousand humans. Her research demonstrates how human geographical tools can be utilized i
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Extra resources for Concubines and Power: Five Hundred Years in a Northern Nigerian Palace
It has since been argued based on information unearthed by Starratt that the text is much younger (1993, 126, 153). 32 While the potential recency of the document makes it difficult to ascertain the exactitude of many historical details 19 20 Introduction described, Hunwick asserts that the chronology of events, "at least back to c. 1500, has been corroborated by dates from other sources for events mentioned in the KG" (1994,14). 33 This timeframe is corroborated by Ahmad Baba, who wrote Al-Maghili's biography in the early 1600s (Hunwick 1994).
Musisi 1991, 772) In Kano, the geopolitical importance of concubine provenance derived not only from the body and provenance of the concubine, but from the fact that according to Islamic precedents concubine children are freeborn. Concubine children therefore had the same status and rights as those of freeborn wives. Status equalization among the king's children meant that any one of them could be used in marriages designed, as they were, to consolidate geopolitical and economic alliances in the city and hinterland.
Analysis of the aerial photographs of Kano city provided crucial historical information concerning: (1) how the palace was originally oriented; (2) how the palace-suburb was placed in relation to the old city, the central mosque, the central city market, and the defensive moats and ramparts during the 21 22 | Grain Treasuries and Children reign of King (hereafter referred to as Sarki) Muhammadu Rumfa (1463-99); and (3) the spatial extent of the earliest royal concubine-run interior. Because it was Rumfa who established the palace, market, and mosque, any evidence of linkages between these institutions and places beyond them would provide clues into the spatial logic of and practices associated with the palace exurb.