Standing Figure

Accession Number

Standing Figure


Artist Nationality
Igbo (Southern Nigerian style, culture)

Object Creation Date
20th century

Medium & Support
wood, white pigment, beads and string

20 1/16 in x 5 5/16 in x 3 15/16 in (51 cm x 13.5 cm x 10 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. Daniel and Sandra Mato

Subject matter
The white pigment on the face of this figure, found on other Igbo objects such as maiden spirit masks (agbogho mmuo), represents beauty and purity. It also has connections to Igbo gods and spirits as white chalk is offered to appease them, so it is fitting that the face of this deity figure is painted white. Although the origin of this figure is unknown, it could possibly be a type of figure called alusi, from the Nri, Awka, and Onitsha area. Figures such as this one have been used in many Igbo-speaking areas, where they were displayed in shrines with multiple figures to form a family. As this object, along with many others, has been removed from its cultural context, it is not known what deity this figure may represent. 

References Cited: 
Cole, Herbert M. 2013. Visions of Africa: Igbo. Milan: 5 Continents Editions. 

Physical Description
Wooden standing figure with one foot missing. There are two strings of beads around the neck and the face is painted white. The eyes, nose, and mouth are detailed with black pigment. The hair is black with an incised grid-like pattern. 

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
mbari (shrines)
spirits (beings)

& Author Notes

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