Igbo Ikenga Personal Shrine Figure
Material: Wood, Pigment
Size:18.75" (47.6 cm)
Personal altars (ikenga), in Igbo culture, are dedicated to the hand, and at that, specifically the right arm. Their belief is that in order to be successful in hunting, farming and warfare, you needed strong hands and arms, agents of physical prowess. The Igbo ikenga typically is carved to show a horned warrior clasping a knife in his right hand and a human trophy head in his left. These symbols were established for the past when the Igbo were active head hunters, although many of their figures depicted only a horned head above a geometrically abstracted spool like body. Sharp horns are the most essential feature of the Igbo and Igala altars to the hand, whether straight, spiral or curved, all were commonly referred to as ram horns, even though they didn't often resemble them.