Ogoni Amanikpo Marionette Figure

Wonderful piece of Ogoni history, from the ex-collection of Seward Kennedy.

Ogoni Ibibio Figure
Tribe: Ogoni

Origin: Nigeria

Approx Age: Mid – Later 20th Century

Materials: Wood

Dimensions cm: 68 tall

Ref. Number: 1003




An enchanting Ogoni Amanikpo Marionette used in the Ogoni Kingdom by one of the many peoples indigenous to southeast Nigeria. This stunning marionette, made of wood, at one time, would have been fully articulated. Due to the passage of time both the arms and legs have been fixed in place. With slight loss to the right foot and the left foot missing a small portion, decorated with a white substance possibly kaolin and the addition of a piece of cloth around its neck the attraction of the still articulated jaw gives this wonderful piece a life-like quality and feeling of fun.

Provenance: Ex Seward Kennedy Collection. Exhibited: Tribal Art London Exhibition 2022


Amanikpo is the most powerful and dreaded cultural group in Ogoni. Ogoni is a major tribe, near Port-Harcourt, in Rivers State, Nigeria. Membership is either core or regular. Unlike core , regular members only enjoy freedom of passage where the group is performing; a privilege not open to the public. Amanikpo and its members perform in absolute secrecy and under the cover of darkness as they are not meant to be seen by anyone other than the members. They can, however, be seen only when on stage where their masquerades are displayed in daylights for public entertainment, as seen in this video. The masquerades are carved humans capable of talking, singing and dancing via local technology known to only core members.

The true origins of the Ogoni people are not very well known, research has it that they migrated into the area from across the Imo River while other research says that the Ogoni people came in boats from Ghana and settled in the southern part of the area. Believers in this theory point to the name by which most of the Ogoni peoples call themselves (Khana) as a pointer to the Ghana origins of the Ogoni people.

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