African art > Maternity, statues, bronze, wood > Idoma statue
Idoma statue (N° 21881)
Altar figure belonging to a widespread cult among the animist Idoma as well as among the Igala and the Yoruba of the South, supposed to promote fertility and protect offspring. These statues which benefited from offerings were preserved in sanctuaries.
The bust bears the motifs associated with traditional tribal scarifications and tattoos.
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Matte grainy polychromy.
The Idoma live at the confluence of the Bénué and the Niger. Numbering 500,000, they are farmers and traders. There are Igbo, Cross River and Igala influences in their art and customs and it is often difficult to distinguish them from their neighbours. Royal lineage members of their oglinye society, glorifying courage, wear masks and crests during funerals and festivities. They also produce fertility statues with bleached faces and showing incised teeth. Janiform crests are generally exhibited at the funerals of notables.
Members of the male Kwompten society, on the other hand, used statues named goemai as part of healing rituals.
Source: "Tribal Art of Black Africa" Bacquart, ed. Assouline; "Arts of the Bénoué Valley" ed. Somogy.
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