Boenemisa

Hungarian Baron

Name ID 1357

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The Museum of Ethnography

Africa Collection

The Museum of Ethnography's Africa Collection offers some 10,000 objects representing the entire African continent and the island of Madagascar. More than half the collection was assembled between 1874 and the end of World War I through six large-scale acquisitions: the donation in 1889 by the hunter and explorer Count Sámuel Teleki of 338 objects collected in East Africa; the 1,520 artefacts purchased by the museum in 1898 from the material of the Ethnographic Mission Exhibition; 2,600 East African artefacts purchased from the collector and dealer Baron Pál Bornemissza between 1901 and 1905; the gift of 391 pieces from the Belgian Congo donated by the world famous British Museum collector/ethnographer Emil Torday in 1910; 189 objects primarily of West African origin sold to the museum by the art dealer Ferenc Pázman in 1914; and the donation by the traveller Jeno Kalmár in 1916 of 223 pieces gathered in Cameroon. During the period between the wars, the largest gift received by the museum included 680 pieces collected by Dr. Rudof Fuszek during several decades spent in Liberia.

Since the 1950's additions to the collection have been made primarily through purchase, rather than donation. In terms of volume, acquisitions meriting special mention include a collection of 192 Coptic crosses from Ethiopia, a group of 70 artefacts, primarily figurines, collected in the Congo, 246 objects chiefly of West African origin purchased from the estate of István Rudnyánszky, a gift of 30 pieces of northern African pottery from Edit Szávay, and the donation of 70 objects of everyday use from the collectors Géza Füssi Nagy and Mihály Sárkány, who participated in a research trip organised to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the voyage of Sámuel Teleki.

In geographic terms, the territories of East Africa have contributed the largest proportion of material (more than one-third of the collection), while the largest thematic group is that of weapons (occupying a full one-fifth of the collection).

The curator of the collection is Edina Földessy.

Extract ID: 4887

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers
Page Number: 115
Extract Date: 1903

Kilimanjaro Boma

The boma was a fairly large place, consisting of a Government station in charge of three or four white officials with about a hundred Native soldiers. The principal civilian residents were two Greek traders, who owned some coffee plantations. They had been in the country for many years and in the early days did a good trade in ivory. Before the country was taken over, this part was thickly populated by the Wachagga, a rather fine race of people, who gave the Government a lot of trouble. They were well versed in woodcraft, did beautiful carving in wood, rhino horn and ivory, and they were very clever at copying anything. A Hungarian baron, named Boenemisa, was staying at the boma at the time of our arrival, collecting curios for the Budapest Museum. He was an old traveler and I had many interesting chats with him.

Extract ID: 3588

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers
Page Number: 129
Extract Date: 1903

Selling Up

At Kilimanjaro I reported my arrival, and presented the skin of the lioness, which was returned to me with a bonus of ten rupees. This covered the cost of my hunting license, and I had two hundred head of cattle to show for my trading. Considering I had bought these at about Ł I per head and they should be worth Ł6 or Ł7 in British East Africa, where I intended to take them, the outlook was very promising.

I paid a visit to my old friend Boenemisa, who gave me a very cordial greeting and was pleased to see me back. But the rosy aspect of things very quickly changed. We had only been there two days when X got into some quarrel with the men, and the old feeling against him returned. The tragedy in the bush had passed from my mind with the departure of the wounded man, and I had been so much occupied with other things on our arrival, I had neglected to report the occurrence at the Government station. It was something of a shock, therefore, when I received a peremptory summons to attend with X at the boma to give an explanation as to how this man had been shot. Of course I gave all the facts of the case: that it had been an accident, and that the man and his companions had been sent home after being given their full pay. The commandant was satisfied, and we were set at liberty.

I had been thinking of leaving any day for Nairobi with my cattle, as there was no market at Kilimanjaro and better prices were current for them in British East Africa. Going down to the cattle boma one morning to see how they were getting on, I was astonished to find that seven of them had died during the night. The death roll had doubled the next day, and I at once reported the matter at the Government station. They examined the cattle and stated that they were affected with a disease which was prevalent in the country, and which we had gone so far out of our way to avoid at Mbugwe and Arusha. The officials acted very fairly towards us, and gave orders that no one should kill any meat in Kilimanjaro until my cattle were consumed. They had a butcher's shop to supply meat for their own station and soldiers, and this was handed over to me. All the cattle that were required to supply the place with meat each day were killed there, and the money handed over to me every night. It was a very bad disease, but those of the cattle which did not show signs of being affected were fit for consumption, and were killed as required. But the disease spread very rapidly, and many of the cattle died every day. I was only getting about .Ł2 per head for those killed, so that my loss was very great.

The change from good to bad fortune and vice versa is such an every-day occurrence in Africa that I did not let it trouble me too much. I had had the same fickle luck in Africa before, so I treated the matter philosophically and quietly sat down to fill my new role of butcher.

After a month the disease died out, and I found myself left with five head of cattle out of the two hundred I had brought into Kilimanjaro. Practically all the money I had received from the butchering business had gone to pay the porters' wages. I had sold some of my camp outfit and my finances were at a very low ebb.

Extract ID: 3601
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