This figure was carved in the style of an ofo staff from the Igbo people of Nigeria. Ofo staffs are a symbol of the staff of God and is meant to portray justice, righteousness and truth. This particular piece measures 28 inches tall including base and weighs 7 pounds. There is some cracking and wear and tear – please inspect photos.
Igbo Ofo Figural Staff on Base 28″ – Nigeria – African Art
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Wood, pigment and metal
27.5" staff | 28" including base
Cracks and imperfections – see photos.
About the Igbo People
The Igbo have an oral history that tells of their origins having come from a ‘sky being’ whom they call Eri. Eri was sent by Chikwu (God) down to Earth. When Eri first landed, he sat on an ant-hill looking at a marshy landscape. He began to complain about the conditions, so Chikwu sent a blacksmith who used bellows and charcoal to dry the land. Eri and his people lived plentiful until his death, in which all food ceased. One of Eri’s sons, Nri, objected to the lack of food, in which Chikwu’s reply was for him to sacrifice his first son and daughter and bury them in separate graves. 12 days after Nri complied, yams grew from his son’s grave and coco yam from his daughter’s. Later, Nri decided to kill a male and female slave, burying them the same way he did his children. Again, after 12 days, oil palm grew from the male slave’s grave while a fruit tree grew from that of the female slave. Since the creation of this Igbo oral tradition, all kings trace their origin back to the founding ancestor Eri and each king is a ritual reproduction of him.
Read more about the Igbo here.
About the Igbo Ofo Staff
An Ofo is a ritual object used in prayers and communication with gods and ancestors and plays a huge role in religious and political life of the Igbo people. It is carved from a branch of the sacred Ofo tree. There are many forms of Ofo, but all are a symbol of the staff of God and meant to portray justice, righteousness and truth. Important ceremonies cannot be completed without Ofo. Ofo are passed down for generations to the eldest son after the father has passed away.
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