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Art, Performance and Ritual in Benin City$
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Charles Gore

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748633166

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748633166.001.0001

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The Life Histories of Some Ohens

The Life Histories of Some Ohens

(p.74) 4 The Life Histories of Some Ohens
Art, Performance and Ritual in Benin City

Gore Charles

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter cites a number of biographies of various priests, a sample of those related in conversation with the author and chosen partly to demonstrate the diversity of individuals engaged in this profession. The biographies present salient events selected by the priest as pertinent to his or her situation at the time of the interviews. They are a means of exploring local ideas and practices relevant to these urban shrines, and to understanding local ideas of personhood and possession by the deities which are worshipped at them. In this way, the making of meaning by individuals participating in these institutions can be understood. A further dimension is provided by the many networks of ohens in Benin City, who participate in the round of annual festivals that commemorate the first induction of the celebrating ohen into a formal relationship with his or her deities.

Keywords:   biographies of priests, urban shrines, personhood, Benin City, deities

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