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In the sculpture, the Igbo girl's womanhood was adorned with a crested hairstyle decorated with disks of mother of pearl or brass, facial and body painting, ivory armlets, and brass neck rings. The process, called nkpu, entailed being isolated from the community while the girls did no work but devoted their time to learning from select village women how to be beautiful, both physically and morally. They also learned how to be virtuous and dutiful wives, housekeepers, and nurturing mothers.

Culture and Traditions

Igbo originated in an area about 100 miles north of their current location at the confluence of the Niger and Benue Rivers. They share linguistic ties with their neighbors the Bini, Igala, Yoruba, and Idoma, with the split between them probably occurring between five and six thousand years ago.

Date of Digitization


Contributing Institution

J. B . Coleman Library


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