ancestor post

Ancestor pole (top part)

In the 19th century Ibibio erected shrines for deceased elders as temporary homes for their spirits before reaching the underworld, ngwomo. The shrines were supported by a central carved post like this one and the deceased elder’s belongings were placed in the shrine for use in the next world. Very few of these posts survive in museum collections, as carved figurative posts were replaced in the early 20th century by commemorative appliqué cloths decorated with scenes documenting the dead elder’s achievements. The gun carved on this post may indicate that the elder for whom it was made was a renowned hunter or warrior, while the barrel motif may indicate that he was a successful palm oil trader, an important commodity in the Ibibio trade with Europeans in the second part of the 19th century

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

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