The Mumuye live in northwestern Nigeria. There are about 400 000. They grow millet, yams, sorghum. They are divided into 3 groups with no difference in dialects but have different customs and beliefs.
There is no royal power. At the village level Mumuye choose a leader who is assisted by a council of elders.
The Mumuye are organized by age groups. Initiation starts at 7 years and is set in a square where the statues are stored. The statues represent protective spirits. The Vabong and Vadosong are 2 companies who are predominant and their role is to ensure that people live in harmony with the ancestors and the forces of nature. The Vabong is the cult of the masters of fire and takes place during the dry season, the Vadosong relates to the rainy season. Both societies and cults structure the initiation of young Mumuye which includes endurance and courage. The introduction provides a gradual entry into consciousness Mumuye and establishing good relations with the ancestors and the forces of the universe.
Possession of statues reinforces the prestige of its owner who has the ability to interact with them by holding them in his hands. The statues are also used to call the rain. In so doing he also provides personal protection and Enclosure familly. The larger statues are used for divination, medicine to combat epidemics and ordeals to solve conflict between two persons. Men in conflict embrace statues and may be punished if they lye.
The size statues spread of 15 cm to 1.50 m, but the average is rather between 70 and 90 cm. Their color may have the wood color, sometimes brown, sometimes dark brown brighter. Other statues are covered with a black color can turn to gray over the years. White or red colors can be displayed at various locations on the nose, mouth, ears and scars. The statues may have accessories: beads, bracelets, chains, belts ...
The original statues Mumuye is that the long arms are separated from the body which is long and cylindrical and turn making twists and curls around the bust. The legs are the same size as the head and are often zigzag. The ears are often large and breakthroughs.
There are two types of masks. One is used during initiation ceremonies and has big eyes. The other was used in rituals prior to wars and is a shoulder mask showing an anthropomorphic form with a long neck, small head and big ears.
The sculptor does not have a special status as a blacksmith and did not bequeath his office to his son.