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.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Azu Anya Mmuo

Photo by Northcote Thomas in Öka (Awka), 1910-11. MAA Cambridge.

Azụ anya mmụọ, the 'eyes of the spirits,' a wooden openwork panel that stays in the shrine area in front of an obi in the north-central Igbo area. The panels represent the presence and protection of ancestral forces. They can be seen outside from the front of an obi facing the compound entrance from which the spirits protect against and ward off any encroaching evil. In turn, the spirits on the altar in front of the azụ anya mmụọ gain access to the outside world through the holes in the panels.

The rest of the buildings and the walls of the compound elaborate on the designs of the obi. In front of the azụ anya mmụọ, in the interior of obi, lay religious objects such as ọfọ, okpesi ancestral memorial statues, Ikenga, title-staffs of ancestors such as ngwụ agịlịga and alọ, and carefully packaged horse skulls and other sacrificed animals, these animals may also include those specially sacrificed by an ancestor, for instance, in a title-taking ceremony.

The obi as the main abode and meeting place of the patriarch of the compound is the site of the main ancestral shrine, the handling of such shrines throughout the Igbo area, regardless of the presence or absence of azụ anya mmụọ, is the exclusive right of patriarchs whose fathers have passed away and are therefore in the spiritual world, before then a son usually relies on a patriarch who is the direct son, and subsequently the closest male descendant to the ancestors, to handle ancestral work.

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