possess monumental statues of the ancestors, often polychrome and with
a schematic rendering. The simplification of the forms is reduced down
to the essential. The Ibo
preserve numerous statues of the guardian divinities of the founding
ancestors in both their family sanctuaries and the initiation
association’s communal houses, otherwise known as the mens’ meeting
house. Here, large sculpted figures (called Alusi) often a couple, can
be found, sometimes accompanied by other smaller statues that follow
the familial model: husband, wife, children, messengers and Ikenga.
Painted red, yellow and white, the scarification marks and attributes
are an indication of the social rank of the person being represented.
This may be founding ancestors who have been remembered, divinities
from the village or market. They are looked after and well maintained.
The wood is replaced if it gets too worn and they are repainted for
important festivities where they appear dressed in Ibo costume.