Tribal art > African Maternity > Idoma statue
Maternity Idoma Anjenu (N° 18505)
An altar figure named anjenu, this maternity sculpture is enhanced with a patina alternating yellow ochre, kaolin, and a matte black. The bleached face is reminiscent of igbo/idoma masks whose mouth reveals cut teeth. These statues are frequently placed near the body of the deceased during mourning ceremonies. They are associated with a cult, widespread among animist Idoma as well as the Igala and Yoruba of the South, which is supposed to promote women's fertility and protect their offspring. These statues, which benefited from offerings, were kept in shrines.
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The Idoma live at the confluence of Bené and Niger. There are 500,000 farmers and traders. Their art and customs have influences from Igbo, the Cross River and Igala, and it is often difficult to distinguish them from their neighbours. Members of their societyo-scoliny, glorifying courage, use masks and cimiers during funerals and festivities. They also produce fertility statues with bleached faces and exhibiting incised teeth. Janiform cimiers are usually exhibited at the funerals of notables. Members of the Kwompten male society used statues named goemai as part of healing rituals. Source: Tribal Art of Black Africa Bacquart, ed. Assouline; Arts of the Bené Valley Ed. Somogy.
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