possibly early 1900s
Wood, organic materials, and raffia
Overall: 74.5 x 18 x 20 cm (29 5/16 x 7 1/16 x 7 7/8 in.)
Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2015.72
On view at:
This figure associated with achievement and success would have received prayers and sacrifices in return for the guidance of ancestors.
This seated figure of a man holding a cutlass and an inverted human skull is a cult object called ikenga, associated with achievement and success. Standing at the center of a man’s personal shrine, the sculpture receives prayers and sacrifices in return for the ancestors’ guidance. An elaborate headdress comprising two horn-like extensions reinforces the cult’s preoccupation with masculinity, while facial incisions known as ichi refer to membership in one of many male associations.
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