This fine Igbo portal door would have been placed in the entrance of meeting compounds belonging to high-ranking families. Carved from iroko (or 'African oak') the deeply cut circular patterns that decorate the door would have created contrasts of light and shadow in the bright sunshine.
Traditionally, Igbo houses had walls of sun-baked clay. Wooden panels such as these, known as mgbo ezi, were used to cover the entrances and walls of compounds or dwellings belonging to high-status members of the prestigious Igbo men's association Ozo. This decorated, elaborate portal served to signal elevated status, relative wealth and good taste, while separating the most profane world of the outside, the village, from the family sanctuary, the dwelling areas and shrines within.
Ex Private Collection, UK
Estimated Period: First Half of 20th Century
H: 100 CM W: 46 CM
Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford
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