African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Yoruba figure
Yoruba figure (N° 22405)
Pearl and torque necklaces constitute the "abiku", protective adornments of this "era" (statues) of twins. The crest hairstyle here is enhanced with indigo.
In the language of the Yoruba people, ibeji means twin: ibi for born and eji for two< /i>. 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. It also happened that a man had ibeji carved for his wife in order to induce pregnancy.
Support for the soul of the twin, the ibeji influences the life of the family, becoming a source of benefits for his parents, the latter continuing to send him prayers and to devote worship and libations to him.
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A detailed comparative study of the different regional styles has been made by Fausto Polo and Jean David in the book Catalogue of the Ibeji.
Ref. : Ibeji , X. Richer, H. Joubert.