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Wooden ancestral effigy, Southern Nigeria, 1890-1932

Many African societies believe in reincarnation. They also believe dead ancestors have power over current events. The Yoruba people of Southern Nigeria believe every soul has a chance to return to Earth in the body of a newborn after two generations of their passing. Sacrifices are made, prayers are said and effigies such as this are made to appease the spirits of the ancestors. The wooden ancestral effigy is in the shape of a mummified corpse.

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Related Themes and Topics



Glossary: Traditional African medicine

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Glossary: effigy

Sculptured representation of the deceased on a tomb.