Identity of the Sacred: Two Nigerian Shrine Figures

September 24, 2000 – April 2, 2001

National Museum of African Art
950 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC

Point of View Gallery, Sublevel 1 Floor Plan

On view are two sculptures -- one Igbo, the other Urhobo -- representing tutelary deities and ancestors found in two societies of southeastern Nigeria. Guardians of the community, shrine figures were placed in buildings in sacred compounds located on the edge of town where they were often the focal point of weekly or annual rituals. The sculpted wood figures were modeled after the human family and represent wives, husbands, children, and members of the extended family and community.