Various groups established around the Benue, Afo, Idoma, Igala, have produced relatively similar maternity statues, which makes it difficult to assign their membership. This type of African altar statuette, part of a very widespread cult among the animist Idoma as among the Igala and the Yoruba of the South, is supposed to promote fertility and protect offspring. These statues which benefited from offerings were preserved in sanctuaries.
Established near the Niger estuary, speaking a Kwa language, the Igala formed a powerful kingdom until colonization, which marked its decline with the prohibition of feasts and the suicide of the king or ata.
Devoid of scarifications, the female figure sitting on a small stool is represented wearing a crescent crest, her angular chest gripped by the child who is head, a pot in one hand.
Shaded brown patina, satin.
(Ref. The Other Face, ed. Adam Biro; Arts of Nigeria, 5Continents)
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