The Igbo of Nigeria are believed to have originated in an area near the confluence of the Niger and Benue Rivers in Nigeria, moving onto the Awka-Orlu plateau about four to five thousand years ago. Their religion followed the rules of its representative on earth, the Exe Nri. The origin is still speculative; however, available information leads to the Nri Kingdom in 900 CE whom researchers believe was related to ancestors in ancient Egypt; even today, the Igbo language has many Egyptian words. The Igbo lived in autonomous villages, forming a very diverse population.
The Igbo people produced a wide variety of art, bronze artifacts the most common. Excavated sites found hundreds of ritual vessels and bronze castings considered technically advanced for that era, indicating the Igbo were well versed in metalsmithing, using copper and other metals by hammering, pounding, twisting and bending it to the desired art pieces. Most historians believe many of the different cultures interacted and exchanged ideas and processes. Many of the castings were made in stages, casting small parts assembled into the casting for the next stage, as seen in the equestrian figure (6.39). They also made breastplates, crowns, pendants, swords, and ornaments. Igbo women wore the large solid 35-centimeter brass anklets (6.40).