Iburi are the culturally dominant human ethnic group in Iumbu, the Empire of the Obsidian Throne. They are also the majority population in the empire and make up significant minorities elsewhere in the larger region. Their ancestors have lived in the Northern Savannah since time immemorial, and their culture is the one most think of when they think about the empire. The Iburi people are tall, tend to be lean, and have dark skin, dark eyes, and dark, tightly coiled hair that they typically keep close cropped or shaved into patterns. The Iburi people are divided into numerous clans in a complex web of dominant and subordinate clans, subclans, alliances and feuds. It's only the power of the imperial throne that has prevented the empire from splintering into a dozen or so minor states. Each clan is composed of a number of extended families. Lineage is traced matrilineally, and names are presented as clan-given-family. It is considered rude to use a given name without permission, and the use of the family name with a -ka (male) or -oro (female) suffix is the norm unless on personal terms. Iburi with taken names, names claimed by themselves or granted by clan or imperial authority, may use those instead of a family name. If asked, most would describe the Iburi as proud, taciturn, and organized. The culture they carry with them and that has sustained their empire is one that has survived for several millennia, and while they are pragmatic enough to accept change is inevitable, they're also wary about introducing new ideas and practices without considering their long term effects. This has led to a reputation of them being sticks in the mud about change, but in reality, if the change is seen as harmless or a net positive, most Thakans are swift to adapt. Iburi philosophers are often busy disputing and discussing such topics, often in public as Thakans take a great interest in philosophy. With the heat and realities of their climate, the Iburi people have a preference for light amour, or armours that act as a cuirass (protecting the torso and shoulders). Lamellar armour is the most common of the heavier armours, and various types of padded armour the common types of light armour. Chainmail and platemail are practically unheard of, and will frequently draw crowds to observe their wearers. The Iburi have a predilection towards spears as their primary weapon for both defence and war, and the brutal ixwa is ubiquitous throughout their lands. In ranged combat, the Iburi show a marked cultural preference to recurved composite bows and heavy crossbows. Magic is an intrinsic part of Iburi culture, with a preference for arcane magic over divine magic. Magic users of all types are respected in Iburi lands, and even simple farmers have a rough understanding of how magic works. Iburi magic is well respected, and they closely guard their libraries, largely intact since the Magister War against intruders. There is no stigma for any type of magic among the Iburi, as long as it is practiced ethically and within the confines of the law. Religion among the Iburi is personal, but is guided by clan, family, and personal needs in that order. The Cult of the Four Dragons has little traction in comparison the Elemental and Para-elemental Lords of the Elemental Court. The Way of the Numena have almost no followers among the Iburi, particularly in Iumbu and many Iburi are openly skeptical of the idea that humans can ascend to godhood. The center of religious life for the Iburi is their home and community shrines, where they conduct their daily prayers and rituals. Iburi religious festivals are something to see, and often last for days, even in the poorest areas.
Aramba, Laru, Nara, Kigala, Natamba
Niamban, Baru, Wiaran, Iumbo
Anama, Buru, Guma, Kumara
Clan Names: Okoru, Bahri, Moruru, Akakara Family Names: Danaha, Nabanu, Jora, Waruna
Culture and cultural heritage
The food of the Iburi emphasizes a preference for spice combinations in flavour and matching that with the texture of the food. Iburi have no prohibitions on foods that are not the result of personal, or sometimes religious, convictions. They do have a preference for wild game though, and fresh killed antelope or hippo, or aged wildebeest, are treats for those who live urbanized lives. Legumes and root vegetables dominate their green intake, alongside a number of seasonal fruits. Wine is rare in their lands, as they prefer either weak beer for regular consumption, or distilled spirits made from the mash of grains and fermented fruits. The most popular spirit of this sort is called Akat, and it is made by both individuals and on a commercial basis.
Common Dress code
The clothing favoured by both men and women among the Iburi are loose, simple robes and cloaks for most, made from fabric dyed in the colours associated with their clans. Most ordinary folk go barefoot in their day to day, or wear light, simple sandals. Warriors and adventurers alike have widely adopted trousers as a symbol of their ways; they have also taken to wearing heavy soled sandals. Jewelry is common, and jewelry that features polished coral and pearls, owing to their rarity, are always preferred over more common types.
Art & Architecture
Architecture and construction for the Iburi is unique. The Northern Savanah is rich in clays, and this is the primary building material used by them. Few buildings are over three stories, owing to the unique building process they use. Iburi will build using unfired clay, fill and surround the structure with flammable materials, and then set it ablaze. Building parties are very common, and the end result is a durable ceramic building. Buildings are typically whitewashed with lime, then painted with bright patterns for decoration or to indicate specific services or produce in the case of shops.
Funerary and Memorial customs
Funerals are three day affairs for the Iburi. The first day is a day of peacemaking for the family so they can greive as one, the second a day of remembrance where the family and community remember the person's life as they are cremated, and the final day is a day of celebration that they have moved onto life in the Lands of Shade and are beginning a new cycle. The latter is often fueled by Akat, and the passing of a person of significance may write off a village or part of a city for several days.
Permanent Tattoos: To the Iburi, tattoos are used only by foreigners and criminals, and are seen in a generally negative light. Part of the root of this is the cultural preference for temporary tattoos that can be changed with a person's preferences. Burying Bodies: This is a new development, that came about after a necromancer raised a city's graveyard after introducing a plague to it. By imperial order, all corpses are cremated now, and the common-folk have taken to it quickly.
The Iburi, from whom the modern Iburi take their name, are the most important historical figures to them. These were the heroes who brought the disparate tribes in antiquity together and led them in a war of liberation against the Dragon Imperium. These tribes would remain united under them afterwards, ultimately to become the founding core of the modern Iburi and the empire in which the majority of them live.
Natural and artistic define these ideals. The Iburi have a preference for natural beauty, and as a result do not use makeup, perfumes, or permanent tattoos to enhance their appearance. The Iburi also engage in the practice of face painting, with a complex lexicon of symbols and patterns used for fun or decoration, solemn events, or as signifiers of social position. Interestingly, they find tattoos to be taboo, a longstanding friction point with the Dakan peoples of the empire.
The Iburi recognize several genders, and encourage their children to explore their genders and their place in society from a young age. This is counter the ideas of some neighbouring cultures, but is highly reflective on the importance of philosophy and a healthy community in the Iburi worldview.
The Iburi are pragmatic in the extreme here, accepting that keeping youths and lovers apart is effectively pointless, so they actively encourage potential couples to spend more time with each other in all the aspects of their lives to ensure they are truly compatible. Marriages among the elites of the Iburi follow similar patterns, but there, families often chose a stable of potential partners and then try to get them to pair off to gain advantage or position. As a result, courtships are often comparatively long compared to other cultures.
The Iburi think that an ideal match is one where the couple (or more, polyamory is uncommon but broadly accepted) are able to find happiness with each other by complimenting each other's strengths while aiding each other with their weaknesses. At the barest minimum, tolerance for each other and some shared interests are the goal; this is particularly true of elite matches.
The Iburi are the largest population in the Iumbu Empire, and comprise almost all of its ruling classes and cultural elites.