Little Black Sambo (fretwork figure)

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Exhibit

Little Black Sambo (fretwork figure)

BTMM map 058.gif
location:
Arch Two , Area 58
Wooden Cutout Figures (display)

A wooden jointed figure of Helen Bannerman's "Little Black Sambo", created by an unknown manufacturer.

The figure is jointed to have moving arms and legs.

About the character

The character in the 1899 story goes for a walk in the jungle and is attacked by tigers, but manages to outsmart them by surrendering his brand new and brightly coloured shoes, umbrella and clothes. The tigers each take an item, and are vainly convinced that they each look better than the others. Argument ensues, and they chase each other around a tree so much that they turn into melted butter. Sambo retrieves his clothes and his mother makes pancakes out of the tigers.

The book has received a lot of criticism for its portrayals, and attempts have been made since the mid 20th century to recast the story in a more culturally sensitive light, but some critics argue it cannot escape its historical baggage through updates.