Ancestor figure of founder hero Owedjebo

MAKER:
Artist

Unknown

CULTURE:
Urhobo peoples
DATE:
1875–1890
more object details

General Description

This over life-size figure represents Owedjebo, a village founder and warrior of the Agbon clan. He assumes an aggressive pose with an intense gaze and an inflated chest; he holds a spear in one hand and a cutlass in the other (now missing). He is depicted wearing a warrior's bush pig tusk headband, a chest pendant, and leather belts with bells. Village founder imagery includes an imported top hat (a 19th century symbol of sociopolitical power) and indigenous prestige symbols—necklaces, heavy ivory bracelets, and anklets—carved in relief. He is displayed as he would be seen in the shrine.

Sculptures of Owedjebo, his family, and their attendants were originally placed in a shrine house that was painted a luminous white. As sacred objects, the sculptures were whitened and dressed in white cloths.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, Arts of Africa, 2015.

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