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Edited by Nancy Neaher Maas and Philip M. Peek
Summoning the Ancestors explores a collection of 72 ǫfǫ (small ritual objects) and 74 bells produced in southern Nigeria by Igala, Igbo, Edo, Yorùbá, and other neighboring peoples, which was gifted to the Fowler Museum by Mark Clayton. The use of bronze ǫfǫ, dynamic symbols of one’s relationship with the ancestors, dates back to at least the fifteenth century. Ǫfǫ likely derive from wire-wrapped bundles of twigs from a tree venerated in southern Nigeria. Bells largely made in the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries were cast in copper alloys, using the lost-wax technique. Many were rung to invoke ancestors or nature spirits, and some announced the presence of important members of the living world, such as priests or local rulers. Richly illustrated, Summoning the Ancestors highlights the remarkable variation possible even in such modest artistic genres.
BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 100 Pages, 9 x 12 in, 126 color illus.