Lot: 272

99th Auction

Seated male figure "edjo re akare

Nigeria, Urhobo

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Martial Bronsin, Brussels, Belgium H: 39.4 inch This object is not available anymore.

wood, kaolin, base

The Urhobo believe that "edjo" spirits live in the surrounding nature. Figures called "edjo re akare" (i.e. "spirits in carved form") are believed to be the physical manifestation of these "edjo" spirits. They are depicted in the form of mythical warriors and female figures, and so they are a tribute to the ancestors and founding fathers of a community.

The figures receive sacrifices to keep the spirits well content. The community stages large annual festivals in honour of the "edjo", which include elaborate dances often accompanied by masquerade performances, lavish meals and extensive displays of wealth. Beforehand, they are traditionally painted in red, black and yellow and covered in white chalk ("orhe"). It is believed that the white chalk purifies the figures and links the "edjo" spirits to the "erivwi" spiritual realm.

Foss, Perkins, An old Urhobo, Cologne 2011, p. 85, fig. 43