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Pair of Igbo Ugonachomma Display Figures
Southern Nigeria
Second half of 19th Century
H. 6' W. 33" D. 8"
Courtesy of Peter Tillou Works of Art

When they were not being used for ritual purposes, ugonachomma adorned the homes of their owners, and served as a mark of distinction for those who commissioned them.

This pair of highly stylized figures would be marched before the masquerade of the dry season festival to “seek out the beauty” of village women. Unlike many cult images, whose primary purpose is religious, these secular figures were made intentionally as a metaphorical expression of the comparison between a young woman and an eagle, both moral and aesthetic ideals in Igbo thought. Most ugonachomma are females, and couples such as this one are very rare.

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