African art > Doors, shutters, ladders dogon wood > Kalabari screen
Kalabari Ijio ancestor screen (N° 16378)
With Ijos living mainly from fishing and agriculture on Nigeria's southern coast, and their small villages in swampy areas west of the Nun River, their cosmogony naturally centred around this environment. References to their warand and commercial past abound in reliquaries, rituals and masked celebrations. The tops associated with Western trading partners have become leader badges. Thus this couple carved in high relief on this panel embodies ancestors. This sculpture reigned in the sanctuaries of men among other prestigious objects. The mirror above the figures was also a popular item during transactions. Polychromy off, erosions and cracks.
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Their masks and other artistic productions are intended to honor aquatic spirits, otojo, which they venerate and to whom sacrifices were intended. Fishermen had to be careful not to offend these spirits or they could kill their wrath by means of the various dangerous animal species in the area, such as hippos, crocodiles or pythons. The Ijo believe that spirits and humans come from the same place called Wonyinghibou " our Mother the Forest", and that they return after death to wait for a new life. Only women give birth: the Ijo consider the creator, Wonyinghi, to be feminine. They also consider that all their masks, zoomorphic or anthropomorphic, Owumo , are spirits of the waters.
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|Material(s)||wood, textile, verre|
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