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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statuettes Ibeji

Yoruba Ere Ibeji commemorative statuettes (N° 18784)

The Ibeji, substitute images in African art. Traditionally carved in iroko, whose roots and leaves are also used for ritual purposes, these "ere" figures (statues) of twins are in the form of a cube topped by a head. The pieces are connected by cowries, constituting, just like metal and pearls, the "abiku", protective ornaments.
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, the remaining twin takes over. ibeji carved for his wife to induce pregnancy. Supporting the soul of the twin, the ibeji influences the life of the family, becoming a source of benefits for his parents, who continue to pray to him and to dedicate cults and libations to him. The occurrence of twinning is, among the Yoruba, stronger than anywhere else in Black Africa. This particularity has therefore naturally influenced and integrated their statuary.
A detailed comparative study of the different regional styles was carried out by Fausto Polo and Jean David in the book Catalogue of the Ibeji. Crusty patina, encrusted residues of anointings.  

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Originex-collection britannique
EthnyYoruba
Countrynigéria
Material(s)wood, cauris
Height21
Width7
Weight1.05 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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