NSFW: So I found an interesting Igbo artifact

Say it with me:

Igbo people are heavily in denial


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  1. Gin

    Could you please tell us where you got the statue, what the date of it is, what culture it is, where it was found and what it symbolises? It doesn’t make sense to jump to conclusions over guess work.

  2. sugabelly

    @ Gin: It is an Igbo statue at least three to four hundred years old from the state of the wood according to the description.

    What it symbolises is obvious as hell and I got it where I get all my pictures of Nigerian artifacts – Museum websites

    Also I never said it depicted gay sex. I personally thought it was a man and a woman when I first saw it. It’s only now that people are pointing it out that I realise it could just as well be two men.

    What I was referring to by denial was the fact that Igbo people like to pretend as if sex wasn’t a part of our culture so as can be seen, nobody is jumping to conclusions.

    And remember the blog disclaimer…. =D

  3. Gin

    Do you have a link to the web page that you found the picture on? Anyway, we can’t say what it represents just from guessing its meaning because the symbolism in African artefacts usually are not always that straight forward. There are many statues that depict naked people.

    The Igbo culture is not homogeneous, so different towns and groups have different attitudes to certain things till today. Saying that Igbo people as one huge group pretend sex is not a part of their culture is quite a stretch. I know what you mean but, every Igbo culture has to be considered when thinking about making generalisations. I don’t know of anyway’s ‘Igbo people’ deny that their ancestors were sexual, maybe you can give an example.

    And I see the disclaimer, but thia picture was obviously meant to start some sort of discussion.

  4. sugabelly

    @Gin: I have already had this discussion about generalisation far too many times on this blog to count.

    Generalisations in the English language have their proper use and this is one of them.

    Based on my life experience as a Nigerian, based on observation, based on my life experience as an Igbo, based on twenty one years of interacting closely with other Igbos, and based on the concurrence of other Nigerians (Igbo and not Igbo), I am making the generalised statement that Igbo people deny their ancestors were sexual.

    Just because you or I know a handful of people that DON’T does not mean that the generalisation does not hold true.

    The exception does not change the rule.

    There are many other generalisations that I can make about Igbo people that are GENERALLY TRUE irrespective of whether or not I know INDIVIDUALS who differ.

    For example:

    Igbo people like to pretend that nudity is not part of their culture.

    Igbo people like to pretend that homosexuality is not part of their culture.

    And while different towns and groups have different attitudes, there are always OVERARCHING attitudes or characteristics that are true for EVERYBODY.

    Just as Americans differ by state and town and city, there are still GENERAL AMERICAN BEHAVIOURS or GENERAL AMERICAN ATTITUDES. Igbo people are no different so I do not see how anything I have said is a stretch.

    The statue symbolises sex. Whether or not it had another meaning cannot be readily deciphered.

    Gin, don’t fall into the trap that many Africans often do, thinking that EVERYTHING in Africa has some DEEPER MEANING.

    Africans are people like everybody else. Igbos are people like everybody else and I am 100% sure and it is 100% true that just as there are SOME statues or figures out there that have symbolic meanings, there are LOTS that don’t.

    So, just as there are some statues out there that depict sex in order to symbolise something else, there are LOTS of Igbo statues that depict sex JUST BECAUSE THE CARVER WAS HORNY.

    Now the real question is: Is this one of them?

  5. Gin

    There are no surveys or study’s on what the majority of Igbo people think their ancestors got ‘up to’. It’s actually quite funny that you said Igbo people like to pretend that nudity is not part of their culture because in many Igbo communities it is not unusual for an old woman to be topless in her house/compound and in some communities (which is why it’s very wrong to generalise) women still go topless for special functions. I wouldn’t base generalisations off Onicha Nri-Oka urban/town dwellers for the whole of the Igbo band of groups.

    I have witnessed conversations of Igbo people saying the complete opposite of what you’re generalising them, many (not all or most) think that their ancestors wore raffia or banana leaves for daily wear (which could be partly true depending on the culture). On the issue of their ancestors being sexual or not, I really don’t see this being discussed, anyhow sex wasn’t something you just openly spoke about in some Igbo cultures.

    I think the statue has a deeper meaning than just pornography, otherwise it would have been carved more explicitly. I do think that the statue could have something to do with sex, although not without some kind of purpose other than just entertainment. Anyway, the statue is interesting.

  6. sugabelly

    Gin: I have also had the discussion about why it is ridiculous for people to disbelieve something unless they have seen a “study” or a document saying it is so.

    That aside, you are here putting forth your opinions on what you THINK the statue is about yet for some reason you find a problem with me saying what I THINK the statue is about.

    I say sex was openly spoken about in MOST Igbo cultures and you say otherwise.

    I have my opinions about why you think this way and I’m sure you have your opinions about my train of thought too.

    You cannot say that the statue would have been carved more explicitly if it were meant to be porn. I don’t see how much more explicit it could get – That’s a BIG FUCKING DICK. It’s like almost bigger than half the body of the man and it is positioned waaaaaaaaaaay more than suggestively.

    I don’t think anybody could possibly not notice that penis and its positioning so please the “it is not pornographic” argument just does not hold water.

    Let me not even start by making the generalisation that a lot Igbo people today are frigid prudes and don’t like to see their culture as sexual and always like to read spiritual/religious/non-sexual meanings into anything even remotely openly sexual about Igbo culture… because that is an analysis for another day.

  7. F and M

    LOL… Obviously the statue has nothing to do with sex. The guy was probably helping her pick something she dropped with his errr… “endowed” piece… LMAO…

    P.S. I referenced a comment/post you wrote sometime ago in my latest blog post but I cldn’t remember which one exactly it was so couldn’t link it… No theft intended.

  8. Gin

    I don’t think it’s ridiculous to be sure of what you are learning and taking as truth, especially with a continent that has so much artefacts covered in symbolism.

    The whole post was presented as absolutely certain of what the statue represents. Like you said, “The statue symbolises sex,” you were even 100% sure about your generalisations, which can’t be said are true for even the majority.

    There are a number of different things the statue could represent, including an initiation, it could have been used as a fertility tool or it could even be something else. I’ve seen African statues of sex, and the artist makes it very clear what they are depicting. Just because a statue has a penis it depicts sex?

    There are thousands of Ikenga statues with “BIG FUCKING DICK’s”, are they depicting sex as well? A penis could represent a number of different things such as power for example.

    I’m not really with the whole thought that before Christianity these African cultures were as ‘liberal’ as they could be. There were norms and rules just like there are now, maybe even stricter.

    “Let me not even start by making the generalisation that a lot Igbo people today are frigid prudes and don’t like to see their culture as sexual and always like to read spiritual/religious/non-sexual meanings into anything even remotely openly sexual about Igbo culture… because that is an analysis for another day.”

    Hmm, I wonder who you could be talking about. ;D I have seen enough sexual dances and even know enough rites of passage and ‘native laws’ to know sexuality in Igbo culture. I don’t like guessing with absolute certainty about things just based on their looks, and even more so when we’re talking about African symbols.

    What is the link to the website?

  9. HoneyDame

    LMAO @ the convo between you two: Sugabelly and Gin. Sugarbelly; please give him/her the link….Gin; maybe you should blog about this issue of generalization, you seem to have lots to say and while reading the comments, it almost seemed like I was unto another blog.
    Buh, heck…..that really is a big ass dick…(eyes wide)

  10. El Divine

    @sugabelly, in my own experience, igbo people are not so much in denial of sex as any other african culture. they enjoyed and talked about sex, BETWEEN MARRIED COUPLES. I know a song they used to say “if i touch her legs, she says ‘dont touch’. if i tough her legs, she says ‘dont touch’. but if i hold her waistbeads, she pretends not to notice”. its an old ibo song usually sung for brides. what was frowned upon was promiscuity. no one denied people were sexual back then. they just dint want ‘sexuality thrown around everywhere like it is today.

  11. sugabelly

    @El Divine: I’m referring to pre missionary hold Igbo culture but what you’re referring to is POST missionary hold Igbo culture.

    Before missionary activity had made any significant progress, Igbo attitudes to sex were far more liberal than they are today. Pre marital sex wasn’t frowned upon only pre marital PREGNANCY and even then there were special exceptions in which it was okay.

    Young people got a far more comprehensive sex education from MUCH MUCH earlier ages and had better attitudes about sex and its uses.

    It was missionary teachings about Christianity and colonist teachings about English culture that destroyed the balance and sent Igbo people into the downward spiral their in today. These two groups of people taught Igbo people that sex is something SHAMEFUL that should be hushed up about leading Igbo people to tend to deny anything sexual in their culture.

    Promiscuity was never frowned upon in pre-missionary Igbo culture. It was encouraged in a controlled manner.

    @HoneyDame: I would if I could find it but you see I collect hundreds if not thousands of these photos a day (and that’s only artefacts, not to mention art I like, drawing references, tutorials, etc). I’ve had this photo for a really long time but I only just remembered it and posted it because of a conversation I had with someone.

  12. sugabelly

    @Gin: Ikenga statues do NOT have large penises. If you see a statue with a large penis it is NOT an Ikenga.

    HORNS symbolise strength in Igbo culture which is why Ikenga has such massive horns.

  13. Gin

    Well, it depends on what you consider a large penis, XD but many Ikenga statues have penises that are there for a reason.

    “Pre marital sex wasn’t frowned upon only pre marital PREGNANCY and even then there were special exceptions in which it was okay.”

    I can’t tell you how wrong this is, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. People were punished for this (especially women) and men were marrying people who they thought were virgins. Akunna Nwanyi was not a term invented by Irish and Scottish missionaries and virginity testing wasn’t either.

    It seems that there are complete different understandings as to what Igbo culture is and you seem to think that Igbo culture has been wiped away or has been replaced completely. Please visit an Igbo village and ask them about Omenala, Omenani, Odinani or Omenali, it would help.

  14. sugabelly

    @Gin: Akuna refers to prostitutes or courtesans.

    There is a very big difference between having sex and having sex for money.

    And if you want to go by terms, explain why Iko (lover) and Enyi (sexual friend/friend with benefits) exist?

    Everything you have mentioned are things that arose AFTER Christianity and European culture were introduced.

    Igbo culture has not been replaced completely but it has been modified HEAVILY.

    And you cannot base your arguments on what people in Igbo villages say because 90% of those people are CHRISTIAN and full of Christian bullshit modifications to Igbo culture.

  15. sugabelly

    @GIn: And Ikenga statues have penises because they are MALE.

    Are you now saying that any statue with a penis has a penis for a significant reason?

    For what reason then does Michelangelo’s David have a penis?

    Because David is a guy. His penis represents only one thing- his maleness.

    It is only when they penis is made DISPROPORTIONATELY large or positioned in such a way as to call attention that we can go “oh wow, there’s totally something up here”

    And by the way, Ikenga also do not have ERECT penises.

    This statue has an eye-poppingly erect penis.

    • Help urself sandbelly

      Lmao! Ya so angry, Igbo ppl this, those Igbo ppl that. One would think you were sonperfect but we know that’s a lie, trying to pour all your anger about uour sad life on Igbo ppl. Sugabelly take care of ur mental health bcos it’s not in a good state and it’s been a while that it has been out of wack, making stupid generalizations, champion of homos, ngwa come and beat us bcos we follow that ‘christian bullshit’ and bcos we condemn the gay lifestyle. Stupid fool talking about ‘when the european missionaries began to make progress’ as if my ppl were backwards until ur beloved white mem came after u will open that ur crazy mouth to also condemn white people. Crazy thing. You that doesnt follow christianity and knows all, condemning Igbo ppl why is ur life a sad mistake? Efulefu ewu. Keep taking ur meds bitch because from ur twitter shenanigans everybody can see ur problem is worsening, dont cure urself u hear? Bastard.

  16. sayingirl13

    I’m with Gin I’ve never met these over religious Igbo yet. From the time I can remember my mom does the whole wrapper under the boobies thing around the hose to eat meals or do certain things around the house and so do my aunts and they a religious people ranging from pentecostal to catholic.

    Interesting find but a bit generalizing much :/

  17. Ginger

    I am with Sugabelly here. A carving of an erect penis is certainly sexual in nature(in fact aggressively so) and not about maleness. I think the figure standing is female. The face is more rounded, and the curves of the hair are fuller.
    The message to me considering the two views(the innocuous one from the front with the man kneeling before the woman and the back view with the rearing penis) was ‘Dont mess with the Zohan ..lol.
    Thanks for sharing this gem.

  18. NenyeN

    Sometimes, Sugabelly [a lot of the time], the way you generalize about Igbo people and culture, culture more especially, (pre & post colonial) is just gross.

    • Help urself sandbelly

      Dont mind the imbecile, its that hausa dick that raped her that also traveled up to shatter her brain( and since u trash Igbos with so much bitterness and hate i will trash ur life the aame too) what happened snakebelly? Ur Igbo father was not around? Animal.

  19. NenyeN

    There we go; opinion. It’s good you acknowledge that, but the fact still stands, you generalize too much & too grossly, as if you don’t know how to state an opinion like an opinion; just an observation.

  20. sugabelly

    @NenyeN: I wasn’t aware that there was a Generalisation Meter and that I had passed it.

    I don’t know what gives you the right to decide how much generalisation is too much or too little.

    If you find my generalisation past your tolerance level, you’re welcome to generalise as little as you want on your own blog.


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