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Igbo Culture. Daunyell B. Alberto R. Jorge C. Zack H. J.J. Igbo Culture. Location: Southeastern Nigeria Originated around Benue and Niger River. Population: 8 million Known as Igboland. Igbo Culture. Economy: The Igbo people are mostly farmers. Stable crop is Yam.

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igbo culture

Igbo Culture

Daunyell B.

Alberto R.

Jorge C.

Zack H.


igbo culture1
Igbo Culture
  • Location: Southeastern Nigeria
  • Originated around Benue and Niger River.
  • Population: 8 million
  • Known as Igboland
igbo culture2
Igbo Culture


  • The Igbo people are mostly farmers.
  • Stable crop is Yam.
  • Are able to export goods to their neighbors as well as import.

Political Government:

  • Have no political Government
  • Are led by their elders, counsels, and titled men.
  • The Igbos are profoundly religious. Worship many gods.
  • They believe that there are three levels of divine beings: the highest level is the supreme god, “Chukwu.” Underneath Chukwu are lesser gods, called “Umuagbara”, and under these are the “Ndi Ichie,” the spirits of dead people.
  • Believe in reincarnation. They see death as a transient phase between life and the spirit world.
igbo religion
Igbo Religion
  • Had gods to worship and praise.
  • But involvement with others led missionaries to come and preach their word.
  • Left some of the Igbo people confused on whether or not to follow the missionaries or their ancestral beliefs.
stories myths
Ancient writing traditions do not exist

There stories are Orally spoken and passed down rather than written.

Stories and myths can be told through the art of dance.

Stories are told to teach a lesson, like the one in the Tortoise and the Birds.

proverbs are the salt with which words are eaten
“Proverbs are the salt with which words are eaten.”
  • Use in everyday speech grown common over time
  • Major element in their oral tradition
  • Oral tradition leaves question to origins
  • One of many idioms used
    • Others include legends, myths, metaphors, parable, and similes
  • All used in context and never out of context
proverbs cont
Proverbs (cont.)
  • Always told with as much precision to keep meaning the same
  • Rarely are the meanings explained
    • Exceptions go to young children and “social nymphets”
  • Adults who ask are frowned upon by peers
  • Meanings vary from person to person
proverbs cont1
Proverbs (cont.)
  • Problem with translations and meaning
    • “Ora na-azu nwa”
      • "It takes a village to raise a child."
      • “The community raises the child.“
  • “O na-abu a si nwata wuba ahu, o saba afo ya”
    • “Tell a child to wash his body, he washes his stomach”
  • Explains things that happen in the village
  • Morals tied to how proverbs are used
  • Some mischievous characters are allowed back into society
    • Tortoise and the Birds
      • Tortoise allowed back after his great fall
  • Trickster character present as in other cultures
    • Tortoise is the trickster for the Igbo
tortoise and the birds
Tortoise and the Birds
  • Moral of the story is those who treat others wrongly will get it in turn to them by others.
    • “Tell my wife…to bring out all the soft things in my house and cover the compound with them so that I can jump down from the sky without very danger.”( Achebe, 84)
    • “…When he reached Tortoise’s house he told his wife to bring out all the hard things in the house.”( Achebe, 84)
igbo art1
Igbo Art
  • There is no pure Igbo art style.
  • Carve most of their art and use mask and other instruments.
  • Functions for their art can vary from village to village.
  • Each work of art has a special meaning or use for it.
igbo art the spiritual mask
Igbo Art: The spiritual mask
  • This particular mask belongs to the mmwo men's secret society of Nigeria
  • It represents dead young wives.
  • The face is whitened with kaolin; white is the symbolic color of death of the Igbo tribe.
  • The dancers did not merely represent, but were believed to be, the spirit of the dead.
  • During a ceremony, they disguise their voices, aiming, to induce the dead man's spirit world (ebe mno) so to avoid any harm to the survivors.
igbo art the drum
Igbo art: the drum
  • Drums are among the most important art forms in Africa, used both as a musical instrument and as a work of sculpture significant in many ceremonial functions
  • Slit drums, with hollow chambers and long narrow openings that resonate when struck, often take a human or animal form in which the drum becomes the body.
  • This massive slit drum was used primarily as a signal gong to alert, assemble or inform the population. Variations in the thickness of the walls would vary the tones when struck by heavy wooden drum sticks.
igbo art couple sculpture
Igbo art: couple sculpture
  • These sculptures usually represented spirits, ancestors or the primordial couple, these figures were placed in shrines and treated with great respect.
  • Traditionally, most of the couples are two freestanding figures, conceived as a unit, and posed frontally, symmetrically, in formal postures and of equal size representing equality.
igbo art the door
Igbo Art: the door
  • The intricately carved doors of the Igbo people of Nigeria form a third impressive group.
  • Carved of a sacred hardwood, iroko, served as entrance portals to an obi.
  • Iroko wood is associated with males, power and certain mysteries. The tree's spirit is ritually placated before felling.
  • The doors are distinguished by the careful chip carving into V-shaped grooves and the contrasts of plain with densely carved areas.
  • All Igbo doors are uniquely sculpted.
  • People eat at home or at friend’s house
  • Goat, cow, chicken, turkey, goose, other birds, seafood
  • produce such as carrots, watermelons and apples, tropical fruit
  • Palm oil
palm kernels
Palm Kernels
  • Palm oil most commonly used to cook
  • Palm wine used for ritualistic ceremonies, drinking
  • Yams most important, staple crop of Igbo people
  • Several dishes made out of yams, seeds used for trade for years
type of cuisine
Type of Cuisine
  • Much of Igbo cuisine similar to that of Jamaica, Puerto Rico, other tropical climates.
  • Corn, rice, plantains, bananas
  • Many foods fried with the use of palm and corn oil
farming and harvesting
Farming and Harvesting
  • Harvesting is more than work, it’s a celebration
  • Crops such as yams, maize, peppers, peanuts, tomatoes, and squash exported to Europe
  • Goats, sheep, chickens, and dogs are kept by mostly everyone
  • The Igbo people play a wide variety of folk instruments.
  • They are known for their ready adoption of foreign styles, and were an important part of Nigerian highlife.
  • The most widespread instrument is the 13-stringed zither, called an obo.
  • The Igbo also play slit drums, xylophones, flutes, lyres, udus and lutes, and more recently, imported European brass instruments.
  • Among the more traditional Igbo courtly music is played to maintain their royal traditions.
  • The ufie, or slit drum, is used to wake the chief and communicate meal times and other important information to him.
  • Bell ensembles are used to announce when the chief departs and returns to his village.
crafts and hobbies
Crafts and Hobbies
  • The Igbo practice a number of crafts.
  • Some are performed by men only and others by women only.
  • For example, carving is a skilled occupation practiced only by men.
  • They produce doors and panels for houses, as well as stools, dancing masks, and boxes.
  • Another valued craft is that of the blacksmith.
  • Women’s crafts include pottery making, spinning, weaving, basketry, and glass plaiting.
  • There are two main sports that characterize Igbo athletics.
  • Wrestling is the most popular sport among boys and young.
  • There are great annual contests in every part of the Igbo country.
  • Soccer is the other popular sport.
  • It is traditionally only played by males, but females have been introduced to it through the school system.
  • Igbo economy depends on root crop farming.
  • Yams, cassava, and taro are the chief root crops.
  • There is a division of labor according to gender.
  • Men clear the bush and plant the yams with the help of women and children.
  • Following the planting season of the yams, plots are assigned to the women individually.
  • Each woman plants other crops in the spaces between the yams and also on the slopes of the hills.
  • Trading is an old occupation among the Igbo.
  • The marketplace has become an important source of livelihood.
  • Presently, an increasing number of Igbo are now engaged in wage labor.
  • Growing cities, expanding road construction, new industries, and oil exploration are creating many new job opportunites.
social problems
Social Problems
  • The Igbo have been seriously affected by national problems ranging from civil war to military coops.
  • The crime rate in Nigeria is high.
  • The problem is worse in larger urban centers, but rural areas are also affected.
  • The crime wave was aggravated by the worsening economic conditions of the 1980s.
  • As a result of this, drug related crime emerged as a problem.
  • The Igbo have so far escaped the worst of this, although marijuana use among young people has been reported.
  • After completing our presentation, we have come to learn many new things about the Igbo culture and its people.
  • The Igbo people are very artistic and creative in everything they do: from their art to the way they run their tribes, and the way they pass on their stories.
  • Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. Evanston, Illinois:McDougal Little, 1959.
  • McCall ,John C. Photographic Archive of Southeastern Nigerian Art and Culture. 1December 2005