Tag Archives: Nigeria

Ikenga figure, Nigeria, first half 20th century

Africa | Ikenga figure from the Igbo people of Nigeria | 1st half of the 20th century | Wood

“The Igbo peoples are known for their dedication to individual accomplishment and a system of titles based on earned status: ikenga are the sculptural concentration of this focus on achievement made into a figural shrine. Offerings to ikenga, altars to success, are meant to ensure accomplishment in many ventures: spiritual, economic, political, and military. The large size, complexity, and iconography of the Princeton work, created by a sculptor working in the Nteje area of eastern Nigeria, confirm its position as a communal ikenga as opposed to a personal one. As such, it belonged to a family, village, or age grade, and offerings made to it supported the group’s endeavors rather than the personal deeds of its members. Communal ikenga were ceremonially paraded at the annual ikenga festival in a show of community solidarity when all males born the previous year were brought before them. Continue reading Ikenga figure, Nigeria, first half 20th century