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Transfixing Beauty: The Allure of Maiden Bodies

Nkiru Nzegwu


This article examines the genre of standing female figure known as Ugolochomma as cultural symbols of sexuality and osunism, by utilizing the categories of agbo (maidenhood) and mma (beauty) as interpretive tropes. Central to this examination of sculptures long referred to as ugonachomma (the eagle seeks out beauty) is the manner in which translational methodology produced meanings that erased women’s imagination, their inventive role in the creation of the ideal of beauty, their creation of art with maiden bodies that became the model for the wooden replicas that were at the basis of men’s age-grade activities and masked impersonation of females in agbogho mmuo performances.


Ugolochomma; Ugonachomma; Sexuality; Mma; Beauty; Agbo; Maidenhood; Osunic; Sexual Pleasure; Osunism

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West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, and Olufemi Taiwo.

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