Close to many early tribal religions, the Ibibio centred on rituals like pouring of libation, divinisation and invocation of the God of Heaven (Abasi Enyong) and the God of the Earth (Abasi Isong). Prime agent of their rituals was the tribal leader who carried the title Obong-Ikpaisong (simply meaning the king of the earth) which equated him with one of the deities. The God of heaven was invoked through a range of spirits, also called (Ndem). As the head of this worship was not the tribal leader, but a head priest, we notice that their religion was both a stabilising of the tribal leadership, but also a counter-point to it, hence we are faced with a double leadership within which religion plays a critical role. This autonomous Priest-King was helped by heads of the larger families which underlines the two-fold social make up with a certain power-control through religion and families.
While we know of masks, as from other African and Asian tribes, wooden sculptures have become famous. Our object is a particularly good example for the refined craftmanship of the Ibibio. As it represents the spiritual world, it is at the same time the endorsement of a people's and family power.
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