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Mother and Child

Igbo peoples, Nigeria

Terracotta

Anonymous gift

4.75 x 11.75 x 5.5 in

In the north-eastern part of the Igbo region, many family compounds possess a shrine containing ceramic vessels and/or figures made by women. The purpose of the shrines, which usually belong to the families of diviners or blacksmiths, is to serve as a locus for indigenous deities and those imported from the Cross River region to the east. A shrine will possess ceramics in the form of men, women, and mother/child figures, depending upon what the deity requests through dreams or divination. The figures serve as the “children of the deity,” and are in the shrine to enhance and protect it.

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