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Female Figure

Artist/Maker: Ibibio people (Nigeria)

Date: not dated
Medium: wood, paint and iron nails
Overall: 24 x 7 1/8 x 5 1/2 in. (61 x 18.1 x 14 cm)
Classification: Art Works
Credit Line: Gift of Alan Potamkin
Object number: 2007.48.104
DescriptionAlthough this figure has been identified in some previous publications as Igbo, there seems to be little doubt that it is Ibibio. The Igbo and Ibibio share some stylistic characteristics and hairstyles but that is generally because the Igbo are very inclined to borrow from their neighbors. The body painting, if that is what it is, could have been inspired by Igbo uli body painting worn by young women on festive occasions. The Ekong (or Ekon) society of the Ibibio uses puppets in dramatizations that offer social commentary on current conditions, sometimes involving neighbors of the Ibibio such as the Igbo. This piece has movable arms and seems to be a puppet. It does, however, differ a bit from the usual Ekong female figures that depict young women who are undergoing the process of initiation to womanhood. Those figures wear heavy hip beads but to have the plump body and legs shown here.
Not on view
In Collection(s)