Original (correct) names/spellings for Igbo City's/Towns/Villages
Abakaliki is Abakaleke; Afikpo is Ehugbo; Asaba is Ahaba; Awgu is Ogu; Awka is Oka; Bonny is Ubani; Enugu is Enugwu; Ibusa is Igbuzor; Igrita is Igwuruta; Oguta is Ugwuta; Onitsha is Onicha; Owerri is Owerre; Oyigbo is Obigbo; Port Harcourt is Diobu; Ogwashi-Uku is Ogwa Nshi Ukwu... any more will be added.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Eze Nri Obalike

Nri Obalike, the Eze Nri from Uruoji who was the Eze Nri from 1889–1935. Nri Obalike was Eze Nri during the height of British colonial imposition into the north-central Igbo area, he was the Eze Nri who was made to abrogate the laws of Nri which went against British colonial interest, and also the first Eze Nri to leave Nri as he was compelled to do by the British. The Eze Nri is seen here around 1910-11, photographed by Northcote Thomas who spent some time studying the Igbo which was a job given to him by the colonial regime for the purpose of efficiently implementing indirect rule.

This photo is originally black and white and was digitally coloured by Ụ́kpụ́rụ́, 2018. (Northcote described the Eze Nri as wearing a blue gown, but this interpretation uses brown, although it's not unlikely that the gown pictured could be different.)

For more information see here.

Military Imposition of Christianity and the Attack on Igbo Culture

[The] [...] Society of African Missions managed to open a mission at Issele-Ukwu in 1893 [...] The resentment of the local people for the mission, the missionaries, the converts and to the [Royal Niger] Company spilled over to an open rebellion against the traditional ruler of the town. The aggrieved populace contended that the latter had not followed the democratic practice of due consultation with the other chiefs and important individuals in the town before inviting the missionaries and before agreeing to the abolition of the slave trade and human sacrifice. [...] The local community therefore demanded the withdrawal of the missionaries from the town and the restoration of their traditional customs. A civil war broke out at Issele-Ukwu. The opponents to the 'erring' ruler had the strong support of [Igbuzo] [...] Otu Ochi-Chi, a secret or night society [...] and its military arm, Ekumeku [...]. Fr. Zappa [...] appealed to the Company for military action and in January 1898 under Major Arthur Festing, a Company force of 250 men laid siege on [Igbuzo] and after six weeks razed it to the ground. [...]
[The] Royal Niger Company attacked [Igbuzo] the head and heart of the Anioma communities because it was the strongest and most feared of the Anioma communities. It was also the center of the most indomitable resistance to the penetration of the missionary enterprise. Fr. Zappa, the leader of the SMA mission and the brain behind the invasion of the town, reasoned that the subjugation of the most feared and the strongest of the Ika communities would also easily and quickly bring the others to their knees. According to the missionary, the overbearing chiefs of [Igbuzo] needed to be humiliated and a military conquest of the evil people was inevitable [...] The Company's bombardment of all the towns within reach of gunfire brought considerable confusion and uncertainty among the people. The cultural resisters were dispersed [...] local chiefs were taken as captives to Asaba the Company's headquarters where they were put in jail.
[Igbuzo] was coerced to accept the presence of the missionaries in the town and the chiefs were forced to accept to protect the missionaries. [...]

– Augustine S. O. Okwu (2010). Igbo Culture and the Christian Missions, 1857-1957. pp. 120–121.

Photo: An elderly man of Igbuzo photographed in the early 20th century by Northcote Thomas.

Ikoro Obibiaku

The Ikoro Obibiaku, a giant ikoro (wooden slit drum) of Umunze made from a single oji (iroko) tree. Ikoro is beaten by males with sticks or by hand for either music, ritual purposes, or for sending messages. Photo: G. T. Basden, before 1921.

This ikoro was reported to be over 180 years old by Basden, the amazing thing is that the Ikoro Obibiaku still exists today (meaning it's now over 250 years old) at Nkwo Umunze, in Anambra State, although in a degraded state. See: See: Chijioke Onuora, "Ikoro Drums..."

Egbo Men

Egbo [Ekpe] men’s leopard ‘secret society’, Cross River area, southeastern Nigeria. Early 20th century. Wellcome Images.

Possible Ala Priest and Ala

"The goddess of the earth," as described by P. A. Talbot, c. 1932. Musée du quai Branly. This may be Ala, the Igbo earth divinity and the man pictured may be an Eze Ala, a head priest of Ala. Ala is represented by trees and shrubs.

Mbari Otamini, Opiro

An Mbari dedicated to the deified Otamini river in the Echie town of 'Opioro' as noted by P. A. Talbot in "Some Nigerian Fertility Cults," 1927. Ala still retained a prominent position among the figures in this Mbari. The Mbari's head priest is noted as Amade Onyeche.

The head priest of the Mbari Otamini, noted by Talbot as Amade Onyeche.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Heavy wood door from Igboland, 19th-20th Century

This entrance door, ḿgbó èzí, likely comes from the Nri-Oka (Nri-Awka) area in northern Igboland which has a strong tradition of highly elaborate carved gateways for enclosed compounds, particularly of titled men. The patterns on the doors combine the visual elements of ichi facial markings and appropriate and masculinise conventionally feminine uli designs. Their size and artistic decoration reflected the grandeur of the òbí, the central male meeting building of titled men and thus the status, wealth, and social influence of the family head. Such doors often protected shrines visited by travellers hoping to obtain success and good luck. Highly skilled professional carvers are responsible for crafting doors; those working in Awka are the best known where they are made by men of certain umunna, patrilineages, who also make wooden panels, shrine imagery, and other ritual objects. The Nigerian-Biafran war heavily disrupted Igbo arts, before the war ḿgbó èzí were much more numerous. Ḿgbó èzí can be seen in some museums around the world including the British Museum, and in use at the Igbo farmers house installation at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia. — Nancy C. Neaher (1981) “Igbo Carved Doors”; San Francisco International Airport Museum.

An Igbo man from Achala, p.d. Anambra State, photographed by British colonial government anthropologist Northcote Thomas, 1910-1911. Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge.

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