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Daughters of Seclusion

The Revelation of the Ibibio «Fattened Bride» as the Icon of Beauty and Power


Imo Nse Imeh

This groundbreaking book analyzes the extent to which feminine ideals of beauty, power, and spirituality in southern Nigeria translate into unique demonstrations of corporeality, extravagance, transfiguration, and wellness. Considering a culture of ceremonial seclusion, fatness, decoration, and identity construction as it is revealed through mbopo, a mysterious ritual practiced in Ibibioland, Nigeria, this work seeks to isolate a visual aesthetic that is specific to Ibibio and Cross River cultures. Through the analysis of regional aesthetic forms, Daughters of Seclusion addresses the connections between mbopo ritual and larger conceptions of aesthetics, artistry, and literacy in Ibibio provinces. Its cross-disciplinary analysis fuses West African women’s studies and art history to discuss nuances in modes of female representation and conceptualization in Ibibio art and life.