Ibo (Igbo) female ‘Alusi’ figure, Nigeria
This fine and characteristic female shrine figure or ‘divine’ being named ‘Alusi’, is carved in the classic ‘round’ style of the Ibo.
The figure bears a typical coiffure as well as characteristic scarification marks on her chest and abdomen around the accentuated navel. There are still fine remains of sacrificial offerings of red earth (ochre).
The Ibo (or Igbo), in the southeast of Nigeria, have a rich pantheon with numerous gods. According to the Ibo, these gods live a very ‘human’ life in their own world with family, children etc. These numerous families of gods are represented by the Ibo carvers in sculptures that are placed in shrines and worshipped by believers. The present ‘Alusi-figure’ is carved from hard, heavy wood and clearly shows the ‘round’, softer style of the Ibo in their Northern area of settlement (the Southern Ibo figures are more ‘angular’).
Age: First half of the 20th century.
Provenience: Danish private collection.
Condition: Despite age this figure is in a good condition. Diligent use has made, the painting with red ocher flaking off on several places. Otherwise the figure is all in very good condition.
Measure: H: 42, W: 13, D: 13 cm – weight: 700 grams.
Literature: Monti, F. Scultura monumentale della Nigeria, Le Figure degli ibo, Milan, 1985, pp.30-31
Casanovas, A., Grunne (de), B., Igbo Monumental sculptures from Nigeria, 2010,