X81.1567 Carved figure

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Carved figure
Janiform hermaphroditic bush spirit
Nigeria, Ijo peoples
H: 113 cm, W: 17.8 cm (H: 44.4 in, W: 7.0 in)
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of William Lloyd David and Rogers Family Foundation. X81.1567


This remarkable janiform figure wears a type of medicine gourd that usually connotes masculine aggression around its neck and on its upper arms. It could simply represent a spirit as a hermaphrodite but recalls as well the powerful female diviners who stand poised between two worlds, ready to wage war against hostile spirits.

Source: Anderson, Martha G. and Peek, Philip M. ed. (2002): “Ways of the Rivers: Arts and Environment of the Niger Delta”‚ Los Angeles, UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History. page 113