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Daily life in Africa

Altar for the Yam Festival

Height: 46.000 cm

AOA 1951.Af1.1

Altar for the yam festival

From: Nigeria
Date: probably late 19th century AD

The main food of the Igbo people of Nigeria is yam - a big root vegetable. This is very important because one yam can feed manyh people. Every year a festival is held to celebrate the yam harvest. This clay altar was used at the yam festival.

In the centre of the altar you can see an Igbo chief. Can you see the chief's two pregnant wives on either side of him? Large families are important so that there are a lot of hands to help with the work. In front of him is a servant or child with a chicken, to be killed as a sacrifice for the yam god, to make sure of a good harvest the next year.