African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Yoruba figures

Yoruba figures (N° 21438)

These sculptures of golden beige hue, embodying twins, are accessorized with their "abiku" protective ornaments made of metal, shells and beads. Their characteristics link them to the egba style. Desiccation cracks.
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 has to take care of him; she can wash and feed him regularly. If she dies, the remaining twin takes over.
Sometimes a man would also have ibeji carved for his wife to induce pregnancy. As a carrier of 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 him.
The occurrence of twins 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 various regional styles has been made by Fausto Polo and Jean David in the book Catalogue of the Ibeji.  

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OriginCollection française
EthnyYoruba
Countrynigéria
Material(s)wood, perles, metal
Height cm25
Width10 cm
Weight0.79 Kg

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