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Oguocha Egoze 


Igbo Figure

Acrylic on wood

Gift of Janine and Josef Gugler, 2016.7.36

Igbo Masks

Acrylic on wood

Gift of Janine and Josef Gugler, 2016.7.37 ab


After scanning dial 30#

Learn more about the indigenous African figures and their importance in Nigerian society


After scanning dial 31#

Learn more about maiden masks and the ideals of beauty in Igbo culture

The Igbo peoples live primarily in the forested areas of southwest Nigeria. These ritual masks and altar statue were sculpted from hard wood, painted, and acquired directly from carver Oguocha Egoze in 1961 by UConn Professor Emeritus Josef Gugler and his wife Janine during an extended research trip to Nigeria. In addition to taking a photograph of the carver with the altar statue, the Guglers recorded Egoze’s name. Authorship is rarely a significant attribute of artworks in their original African context, however. Many other names are associated with traditional African art objects, including the name of the spirit or god served by the work, the name of the individual or group who owns it, and above all, the diviners and priests who activate it. According to this logic, the objects you see here are hollow forms. Though intended for ritual use, they remain unconsecrated, since the Guglers acquired them from Egoze as he completed the carvings.

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