Ibibio (Anang) Female Figure
After the pre-marriage seclusion period, young women would have been elaborately coiffed and adorned with rich, black-line body painting by a female artist before she was presented to the community.
Tribe: Ibibio, Anang
Origin: Cross River, Nigeria
Approx Age: Early-mid 20th Century
Dimensions cm: 62 Tall
Ref. Number: 1847
A significant and wonderful early styled Ibibio female figure from Nigeria. Her expressive visage, presents deeply-set large eyes, arched brows, a prominent nose, and an excessively long neck. A five bun/bunched braid coiffure, articulated arms and depicted wearing a dress, loss of the big toe to the right foot and general wear and tear of a used figure, mounted on a sturdy wooden block.
Provenance: Ex-Mason Huynh, Virginia USA.
This puppet was used by the Ekon–an Ibibio association of warriors–in humorous performances to entertain and exert social control. The young woman is fresh from her stay in the “fattening room.” This practice involved the seclusion of young women in preparation for marriage, during which time she was well fed to conform to standards of corporeal beauty and instructed on how to fulfil moral expectations for adult women. The practice fell in popularity over the last decades. After the pre-marriage seclusion period, young women would have been elaborately coiffed and adorned with rich, black-line body painting by a female artist before she was presented to the community. The figure represents this practice and is adorned with the same body decoration.
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