A female Ibo sculpture, Nigeria, seated on a bench,the hands bent, small pointed breasts, rounded shoulders, a strong neck, fine facial features, a pointed straight mouth, broad nose, almond-shaped eyes, oval ears and a finely carved blackened coiffure with a crest on the top, beads around the waist; a toe and a thumb broken off, incrusted patina, clear signs of age and ritual use.
Living mainly in the forested areas of south-west Nigeria, on both sides of the Niger River the Igbo number some ten million individuals.Mainly farmers and merchants, they also hunt and fish. They are subdivided into thirty-three subgroups and are spread out among abouttwo hundred villages scattered through the thick forest or semifertile marshland. Only on the northern and western edges of the area,under influence from Igala and Benin, are hereditary rulers found. The heads of families form the council of elders, which shares its powerwith numerous secret societies. These societies exercise great political and social influence. They are highly hierarchical, their memberspassing from one level to the next. There is strong social pressure toward individual distinction, and men can move upward through successive grades by demonstrating their achievements and their generosity.
The lack of overall centralization among the Igbo-speaking peoples has been conducive to the development of a great variety of art stylesand cultural practices. The earliest sculpture known from Igboland is from the village of Ibo Ukwu, where the grave of a man of distinction and a ritual store, dating from the 9th century AD, contained both chased copper objects and elaborate castings of leaded bronze. Ibo sculpture is subject to rather strict rules: the figures are generally frontal, symmetrical, and upright, with legs slightly spread, arms heldaway from the body, and hands stretched forward, palms open. Proportions are true to those of the human body, with the exception of the neck, which is more elongated. The whole gives the impression of balance and stability yet lacks the degree of refinement and precision.The altar statues called ikenga are sculpted from hard wood. They include a pair of horns, identified as the horns of a ram who “fights with his head” – hence is symbolic of aggression and perseverance. Since the ram rarely fights, he therefore symbolizes self-control anddetermination to the Igbo. The statue is scarified to reflect the status of its owner. Young men acquire an ikenga at various ages, but theyall own one of them by the time they get married and settle down. The large ikenga belong to whole communities, age groups, or lineages.They are characterized by complex hairdos, which, again, use the theme of horns. These statues are displayed during ceremonies andstrengthen the sense of community solidarity. The alusi figures are the protective divinities associated with elements of nature (the rivers, the earth) or social elements (markets, ancestors). They are gathered in sanctuaries on the model of familial Igbo groups, and – in the hairstyles, the scarring, and the ornaments – they present the status symbols of influential people. There is a recurrent element in the palms of the hands, turned one to the other to indicate frankness, the openness to giving and receiving, the relationship of reciprocity that exists between men and gods. Source: zyama
500 - 600,- Euro
Height: 51 cm Weight: 1,8 kg
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