Wooden ancestral effigy, Southern Nigeria, 1890-1932

Made:
1890-1932 in Nigeria
maker:
Unknown

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Wooden ancestral effigy in the form of a mummified corpse, onlaid iron straps, eyes and headdress, suspension ring on
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Wooden ancestral effigy in the form of a mummified corpse, onlaid iron straps, eyes and headdress, suspension ring on
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London

Wooden ancestral effigy, carved into a human form from the wood of the ọfọ tree, onlaid iron straps, eyes and headdress, suspension ring on base, Ibgo people, Southern Nigeria, 1890-1932.

Many African societies believe in reincarnation. They also believe dead ancestors have power over current events. The Igbo people of Southern Nigeria traditionally believe every soul has a chance to return to Earth in the body of a newborn member of the same family. This ritual club, carved from the wood of the ọfọ tree, represents the power and authority of the ancestors. It also signifies the bond between the living and the dead. Sacrifices are made, prayers are said and effigies such as this are made to appease the spirits of dead relatives.

Details

Category:
Ethnography and Folk Medicine
Object Number:
A657216
Materials:
iron, wood
type:
effigy
taxonomy:
  • visual and verbal communication
  • sculpture
  • funerary sculpture
credit:
Jeffreys, M.D.W.

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