Original

Igbo names and spellings for various settlements
Abakaliki is Abankaleke; Afikpo is Ehugbo; Awgu is Ogu; Awka is Oka; Bonny is Ubani; Enugu is Enugwu; Ibusa is Igbuzö; Igrita is Igwuruta; Oguta is Ugwuta; Onitsha is Onicha; Owerri is Owere; Oyigbo is Obigbo... any more will be added.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Heavy wood door from Igboland, 19th-20th Century

This entrance door, ḿgbó èzí, likely comes from the Nri-Oka (Nri-Awka) area in northern Igboland which has a strong tradition of highly elaborate carved gateways for enclosed compounds, particularly of titled men. The patterns on the doors combine the visual elements of ichi facial markings and appropriate and masculinise conventionally feminine uli designs. Their size and artistic decoration reflected the grandeur of the òbí, the central male meeting building of titled men and thus the status, wealth, and social influence of the family head. Such doors often protected shrines visited by travellers hoping to obtain success and good luck. Highly skilled professional carvers are responsible for crafting doors; those working in Awka are the best known where they are made by men of certain umunna, patrilineages, who also make wooden panels, shrine imagery, and other ritual objects. The Nigerian-Biafran war heavily disrupted Igbo arts, before the war ḿgbó èzí were much more numerous. Ḿgbó èzí can be seen in some museums around the world including the British Museum, and in use at the Igbo farmers house installation at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia. — Nancy C. Neaher (1981) “Igbo Carved Doors”; San Francisco International Airport Museum.

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