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Shrine Figure (Ikenga)

Artist/Maker: Nigeria, Igbo people

Date: not dated
Medium: wood and paint
Overall: 9 x 6 1/2 x 6 3/4 in. (22.9 x 16.5 x 17.1 cm)
Classification: Art Works
Credit Line: Gift of Alan Potamkin
Object number: 2012.2.21
DescriptionThis object resembles a simple ikenga, a man's personal shrine. It has the requisite cylindrical form but no horns, at least not in the usual sense. Horns are necessary for a true ikenga as testimony to the owner's ambition and assertiveness. The handle-like element on the top could be a highly stylized horn element. The upside-down U shape that encircles the base could also be horns, as could the hanging element that separates each of the U's. There is a tiny head rising out of the upper surface of the stool form. The overall configuration has a lot in common with the stools that titles elders are allowed to use as signs of their rank.
Not on view
In Collection(s)