African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Yoruba beeldje
Yoruba Ere Ibeji beeldje (N° 20495)
The Ibeji, surrogate images in African art
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Standing on a circular base, this female effigy has large globular eyes inlaid with metal pupils, illustrating the aesthetic traditions of African Yoruba art. The fetishist has endowed her with talismanic jewelry meant to strengthen her power.
Grained two-tone platinum.
In the language of the Yoruba people, ibeji means twin: ibi for born and eji for two. They represent the figure of a deceased twin.
This ibedji is then treated as the missing child would have been. It is the mother who must take care of him; she can wash and feed him regularly. If she dies, it is the remaining twin who takes over.
It also happened that a man would have ibeji carved for his wife to induce pregnancy, the object deveant support of fertility.
As a support for the twin's soul, the ibeji influences the life of the family, becoming a source of benefit to his parents, who continue to offer prayers and worship and libations to it.
These statuettes of tribal art are among the most famous works of the Yoruba ethnic group. Indeed, the occurrence of twins in this ethnic group is stronger than anywhere else in Black Africa. This particularity has naturally influenced and integrated their statuary.
A detailed comparative study of the different regional styles was made by Fausto Polo and Jean David in the book Catalogue of the Ibeji.
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