African statue altar part of a cult supposed to promote fertility and protect descendants, very widespread not only among the animist Idoma, but also among the Igala and the Yoruba of the South. These statues which benefited from offerings were kept in sanctuaries.
Matte crusty patina. Erosions.
The Idoma live at the confluence of the Benué 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 neighbors. Royal lineage members of their oglinye society, glorifying courage, use masks and crests during funerals and festivities. They also produced fertility statues with whitened faces displaying incised teeth. Janiform crests generally appear at the funerals of notables.
Members of the male Kwompten society, for their part, used statues called 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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