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    Description

    IGALA, Nigeria
    Seated Female Figure

    Wood, red and white earth pigments, blue pigment

    Igala figures have not been well studied, nor have they been clearly differentiated from those of neighboring Idoma and Ibo peoples. However, the open mouth with teeth and the "cat whisker" scarification pattern rising in elegant curves up both cheeks are typical of old Idoma figures.

    This fine, old figure is unusually large, elaborate and naturalistic, as are the older figures of the Idoma and Ibo of the area. Large bracelets and very elaborate body scarification patterns indicate elevated social status, as do the doubled stools. The fine condition of the figure probably indicates indoor use as a shrine figure, while the white face is that of a spirit. Igala village women collectively own such "Ojibo" spirit figures, which are kept in the house of the oldest woman. During funerals such figures may be decorated with strands of beads, dressed and presented to the public in celebration of the status of the deceased person.

    For a very similar example, see Dr. Herbert Cole's book IGBO ARTS: Community and Cosmos, plate 172. He writes, "Three female figures from the northcentral area diverge from the norm discussed (earlier), (Figs. 170 172). They are seated on stools and are probably shrine figures, but their precise contexts are unknown. They may be older than many of the better known and more common abusi images.... The third anomalous female figure, collected in the Awka Jeffreys, sits upon an elaborate Ozo-type openwork stool...(fig.172). No collection data accompany this unique image, but it too probably came from an important shrine." Figures in this style have been variously attributed to the Igbo, Idoma, or Igala peoples.

    Ex-collection: Warren Robbins
    Obtained by James Silberman from Warren Robbins' wife, Lydia.



    Height: 41 ½ inches


    Condition Report*: In overall very good condition.  Several cracks in wood apparent.  Area of loss at the top of the head.  Surface with usual wear, including loss of pigments.  No apparent restoration. 
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2016
    16th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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