Lot: 390

82nd Tribal Art Auction

Shrine figure: bush spirit in shape of a warrior

Nigeria, Ijaw

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Allan Stone, New York, USA
Sotheby's, New York, The Collection of Allan Stone: African, Oceanic, and Indonesian Art, Vol. I, 15 November 2013, lot 77
H: 37.4 inch This object is not available anymore.

wood, black paint, white pigment, encrusted in some areas, red and indigo blue pigment, flat disc-shaped hat, metal sheet sword in the right hand, eyes with mirror glass inlay, tubes from fabric embroidered with cowrie shells around neck and hips, loincloth from fine woven cotton (brittle because of old age), slightly dam., cracks, base; Ijaw shrines often are dedicated to the warriors of the "ozidi" narrative, which is performed throughout the Central and Western Delta. In avenging his fathers murder, "ozidi" confronts a series of bad bush spirits. Finally "ozidi" won, when he decapitated the seven-headed bush spirit "tebesonoma". All the shrines "ozidi" created supported him in battle, making him such a fearsome foe that no one would fight him. Like "ozidi", the Ijaw count on enshrined bush spirits to support their followers in everything from wrestling competitions to war, and to protect them from both human and superhuman threats.

Fagaly, William, Ancestors of Congo Square, New Orleans 2011, p. 216