Features

Sawfishes in traditional tales

Words by Ruth H. Leeney & Matthew McDavitt
Akan proverb | Ghana
When a sawfish attacks another fish, the victim never escapes.
Douala proverb | Cameroon
A sawfish on the beach is already well-known news in the city.
The form of a sawfish carved into a wooden post outside a government building along the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea. Largetooth sawfishes inhabit the river and feature in the many cultures of East Sepik Province.<br /> Photo by Ruth H. Leeney | National Geographic Society
Maro (bark cloth) painting from Lake Sentani, West Papua, depicting two sawfishes.<br /> Collection Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen. Coll.no. RV-3600-749.
The creation of the Angurrgwa (Angurugu) River by Stingray, Ray Shark and Sawfish.<br /> Artwork by Nandabida Maminyamanja | Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) | Reference ABART-1649 | Reproduced with the permission of the artist's family.
Indonesian glass painting depicting Nabu Sulaiman trying to feed all the creatures of the sea.<br /> Photo by Matthew McDavitt
A colourful mola depicting three sawfishes. Molas are hand-made appliqué textiles produced mostly by the Guna women of the San Blas Archipelago, Panama, and often incorporate designs relating to their natural and mythological landscapes.<br /> Photo by Matthew McDavitt
The saw of the sawfish has killed the sawfish.
Maro painting from Lake Sentani depicting sawfishes and numerous other aquatic animals.<br /> Collection Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen. Coll.no. RV-5875.
Project

Seeking Madagascar’s sawfishes