Tribal art > African Maternity > Statue Urhobo
Urhobo maternity figure (N° 18506)
Ex-collection of Belgian African tribal art.
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The theme of the woman breastfeeding her child forms a frequent subject in the statuary urohobo, idoma, afo and igbo. The sculpture would embody an edjo. It stands out from the igbo sculpture thanks to the deep vertical facial scarifications. Yellow ochre crusty patina, locally flaked. Damaged base, erosion and desication cracks.
Urhobos, living near the northwest of the Niger Delta River, are the main ethnic group in The Delta State among the 36 states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. They speak Urhobo, a language of the Niger-Congo group. Together with the Isoko, whose art is close, they are collectively known as Sobo. Their large sculptures depicting the spirits of nature, edjo, or the founding ancestors of the clan, to whom sacrifices were offered, were grouped in shrines within the villages. They also produce figures similar to the Igbo ikenga called iphri, ivwri, half-animal, half-human. They personify male aggression and are intended for warriors and notables. However, after consultation with the soothsayer, young children may also wear miniature iphri in the form of geometric amulets attached to their necks.
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