NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR MUSEUMS & MONUMENTS


FEDERAL MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE

CHIEF OKOROJI'S HOUSE, AROCHUKWU ABIA STATE

Okoroji

Declared a National Monument on 19th March, 1963. One of very few Aro buildings that survived from the 18th century. The few that still exist represent a highly developed form of indigenous traditional architecture and construction skill. They showcase beautifully formed facade details and decorations. Chief Okoroji who built this house, probably at the time of his prosperity in the 1880's died before the Aro expedition. The plan of the house is simple with an inner room and an outer verandah. Rising from a plinth, the most striking features of the building are its height (It has an attic over the inner room where the bedrooms are located) and the length of its roof that deeps steeply to front of the building. The verandah has deep low eaves with decorated mud benches set into the floors and walls. A pair of slave chains hang from the ceiling and the rafters are ornamented with rows of animal skulls tied with decorative string. The inner room is impressively decorated with numerous family heirlooms. The centre piece of the room is a shrine made of fine large coiled manilas (with flattened ends) and crowned with a ship's bell. Around the walls are rows of china plates, serving dishes with covers, and pewter dishes and bowls from early colonial times. There is a profusion of pewter and china mugs, beakers and tankards. The ceiling of the room is hung with a variety of lanterns, ship's lights and other sailor's bric-a-brac. Elsewhere in the room there are a few cannons, swords and guns. All of these miscellaneous European article appear to be late nineteen century English and German trade goods and souvenirs. There are also some brass spiral manilas, very good specimens of a rare type.