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The Igbo People: A Project

An in-depth look into the Igbo people of Nigeria. By Eric Le, Saba Raouf, Safa Raouf, and Betool Ridha.

Eric Le

on 17 January 2013

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Transcript of The Igbo People: A Project

The Igbo People: An Informative Project by Eric Le, Saba Raouf, Safa Raouf & Betool Ridha The Kola Nut Marriage Religion Traditions Social Structure No central government
Village council
Gender roles Titles, Age-grade
Wealth-obgenye, dinkya, ogaranya
Diala, Ohu, Osu Art & Recreation Music Recreation Daily Life Women Men Children Clothing Hospitality Traditionally, the Igbos (Ibos), especially Igbo women, believed in and valued decorating their bodies for a variety of reasons including aesthetics. There is a saying in Igbo, "One's body is his/her temple." Children are believed to have nothing to hide and are usually naked.

A child may wear a string of beads around the waist for medicinal purposes or reasons.

The children were also decorated, especially their hair, which was shaved in beautiful patterns. -On important occasions every family sends food to their neighboring families.

-If a family has a visitor/guest the neighbors will all entertain the visitor in turn.

-Palm wine is used to wash down the food.

-It is a sign of disrespect for the visitor to refuse food, however, they cannot finish all of it. Reincarnation after death
Priests and Oracles
Supreme Being-Chukwu Abiama Umuagbara Masks Bronzes & Figures -The highest symbol of Igbo hospitality.

-Kola nuts are much more important than food, drink, and meat.

-A privilege reserved exclusively for men.

-Whenever a kola-nut appears, the matter to be discussed at that particular time was regarded as very vital.

-When an important guest visits the community, kola-nuts are brought out and handed to the elder person or the priest.

-This symbol of Igbo hospitality has three steps and anyone who fails to follow these steps is penalized by the village elders.
1. Presentation.
2. Breaking the kola nut.
3. Distribution

-The kola-nut travels around until finally it comes back to the host. Religion Ala-Earth
Igwe-Sky Ndi' Ichie Bibliography -Bride wealth/price
-A token of appreciation.
-Given to the bride's father or relatives.
-It is not a purchasing of a wife, but a contract.
-Very important role in social, legal and economic customs.
-Seals the two couples
-Regulates the rate of divorce cases.
-Marriage is solidified with the birth of a child, particularly a male child.
-Traditional marriage is not of romantic love.
-The couples establishing a family for procreation.
-Regarded as a family and clan affair.
-The Igbo traditional marriage favors polygamy. -Before the advent of Christianity, the Igbo and Oraifite people belief system revolved around one God, "Chi".
-Because Chi is an omnipotent and omnipresent God, symbols or sanctuaries representing Chi can be found in every home, compound or village square. These musical tools are used primarily by
masquerade, dance, and musical groups in special human activities like; rituals, spiritual and cultural events as well as births of new born and funerals. Today, they are also used to accompany church choirs. OGENE - "Gong" EKWE - "Slit-drum" UDU - "Pottery-drum" OJA - "Flute" IGBA - "Cylinder-drum" The EKWE (Silt-drum) is a tree trunk, hollowed throughout its length from two rectangular cavities at its ends and a horizontal slit that connects the cavities. The size of the slit-drum depends on its use and significance. Its significance includes use as musical instrument at coronation, cultural events and rituals. The OGENE (Gong) is the most important metal instrument among the Igbo people. They were made originally in bronze but, in modern time, are mainly made of common metal as a bulging surface in elliptical shaped rim, and tapering like a frustum to its handle. The IGBA (Cylinder-drum) is a piece of hollow wood covered at one end with animal hide held down tight with fasteners. The artist carries it over his shoulder with the help of a shoulder strap. The artist produces the sound by beating on the animal hide with his fingers or combination of one set of fingers and a special stick. The OJA (Flute) is a piece of wood designed with a cavity inside, the top has a wide opening to fit the shape of the human lower lip, a small hole on the bottom and two smaller holes closer to the top on exact opposite side. The artist blows the musical sounds through the wide opening, while placing the thumb and the ring fingers simultaneously on the two smallest holes to control the rhythm. The UDU (Pottery-drum) is a sphere shape made of clay, with a hollow inside and a small round open mouth. The primary function of Udu is to produce musical bass. The artist accomplishes this by taping the open mouth with a round and flat object. "African Tribes - Ibo - Igbo Culture." African Tribes - Ibo - Igbo Culture. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
"African Tribes - Ibo - Igbo Culture." African Tribes - Ibo - Igbo Culture. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
"Countries and Their Cultures." Igbo. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
"Countries and Their Cultures." Igbo. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
"Countries and Their Cultures." Igbo. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
"The Fundamentals of Odinani." The Fundamentals of Odinani. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
"Gender-Sensitivity In Igbo Culture: A Philosophical Re-appraisal." Goddy Ozumba :. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
"Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History." Igbo-Ukwu (ca. 9th Century). N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
"Igbo Art." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 01 Oct. 2013. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
"Igbo Culture and Socialization." Igbo Culture. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
"Igbo Culture and Socialization." Igbo Culture. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
"Igbo Culture and Traditions Of Oraifite Ibo Land African Nigeria." Igbo Culture and Traditions Of Oraifite Ibo Land African Nigeria. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
"Igbo Culture and Traditions Of Oraifite Ibo Land African Nigeria." Igbo Culture and Traditions Of Oraifite Ibo Land African Nigeria. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
"Igbo Government and Social Structure." Igbo Government and Social Structure. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
"Igbo Maiden Spirit Mmwo Mask Nigeria African Mask - Igbo - Masks." Igbo Maiden Spirit Mmwo Mask Nigeria African Mask - Igbo - Masks. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
"Igbo Music." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 01 May 2013. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
"Igbo People." Igbo People. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
"A Journey around Igbo Ukwu Bronze." Vanguard News. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
"Nairaland Forum." Art And Architecture Of The Igbo People. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
"Traditional Marriage among the Igbos of Nigeria." Traditional Marriage among the Igbos of Nigeria. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013. The Igbo use thousands of masks, which incarnate unspecified spirits of the dead, forming a vast community of souls.
The outstanding characteristic of the many Igbo masks is that they are painted chalk white. The masks, of wood or fabric, are employed in a variety of dramas: social satires, sacred rituals (for ancestors and invocation of the gods), initiation, second burials, and public festivals.
Best known are those of the Northern Ibo mmo society, which represent the spirits of deceased maidens and their mothers with masks symbolizing beauty.
Among the Southern Ibo, the ekpe society, introduced from the Cross River area, uses contrasting masks to represent the maiden spirit and the elephant spirit, the latter representing ugliness and aggression and the former representing beauty and peacefulness.
The Eastern Ibo are best known for masquerades associated with the harvest festival, in which the forms of the masks are determined by tradition, though the content of the play varies from year to year.
Traditional entertainment includes storytelling, rituals, dancing, and music making.

Wrestling is the most popular sport among boys and young men, with great annual contests in every part of Igbo country.


The Igbo practice a number of crafts, some performed by men only and some by women. Carving is a skilled occupation practiced only by men. They produce doors and panels for houses, as well as stools, dancing masks, and boxes. Another valued craft is that of the blacksmith.

Women's crafts include pottery making, spinning, weaving, basketry, and grass plaiting. Artwork The Igbo produce a wide variety of art including traditional figures, masks, artifacts and textiles, plus works in metals such as bronze. Artworks form the Igbo have been found from as early as 9th century with the bronze artifacts found at Igbo Ukwu.
Women wore native wrappers and in most cases they did not have to cover the breast area.Women wrapped thick locally made textile fabrics (ekwerike) around their waist areas or dressed in strung beads known as jigida in place of ekwerike, and painted or rubbed uli andufie on their bodies.
Women wear wraps for both informal and formal occasions. The everyday wrapper is made from inexpensive cotton, dyed locally. For formal wear, the wrapper is either woven or batikdyed, and often imported For everyday wear men wore a cotton native wrapper, a shirt and sandals.
For formal occasions they wear a long shirt, often decorated with tucks and embroidery, over a dressy wrap, shoes, and a hat.
Men carried goatskin bags in which they kept essential items such as their drinking horns--animals' horns (opi) or a special gourd shaped like a cup for drinking palm wine, as well as snuff-bottle and its spoon. WorK Women's work Men's Work Men are mainly responsible for yam cultivation.
Usually, the men clear and prepare the land, plant their own yams, cut stakes and train the yam vines, build the yam barns, and tie the harvest.
With regard to palm products, the men usually cut the palm fruit and tap and then sell the palm wine as well as palm oil. The women plant their own varieties of yam and "women's crops," which include cassava, cocoyams, pumpkins, and peppers.
They also weed and harvest the yams from the farm.
Women prepare the palm oil that the men then sell. Family Life Under the practice of polygamy, many Igbo men have more than one wife and a successful man marries as many wives as he can support.
The man also has the responsiblitity in providing the farm plots to help the women and their dependents make a living.
The family is made up of the man, his wives, and all his children. Beyond this is the extended family which includes all the sons in a family and their parents, wives, and unmarried daughters. Ideally, all of the members of the extended family live in one large compound. The earliest known bronze art works in Sub-Saharan Africa are Igbo-Ukwu objects. They were produced through the use of the “hollow cast” method of casting, which involved the modeling of the object in wax and then replacing that with molten bronze.

Ibo sculpture is subject to rather strict rules: the figures are generally frontal, symmetrical, and upright, with legs slightly spread, arms held away from the body, and hands stretched forward, palms open. The altar statues called ikenga are sculpted from hard wood. They include a pair of horns, identified as the horns of a ram that “fights with his head” – and so it’s a symbol of aggression and perseverance, and self-control and determination to the Igbo.

The statue is scarified to reflect the status of its owner. Young men acquire an ikenga at various ages. These statues are displayed during ceremonies and strengthen the sense of community solidarity.

The alusi figures are the protective divinities associated with elements of nature (the rivers, the earth) or social elements (markets, ancestors). They are gathered in sanctuaries on the model of familial Igbo groups, and they present the status symbols of influential people. There is a recurrent element in the palms of the hands, turned one to the other to indicate frankness, the openness to giving and receiving, the relationship of reciprocity that exists between men and gods.
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