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

Yoruba twins (N° 20026)

These golden-brown sculptures, embodying twins, are accessorized with their "abiku" protective ornaments made of metal, shells and beads. Their characteristics link them to the egba style. Cracks of desiccation. Traces of indigo. 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.
Sometimes a man would also have 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 benefit to its parents, who continue to offer prayers and worship and libations to it.
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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OriginEx-collection britannique
Material(s)wood, metal, perles, cauris
Height cm26
Width10 cm
Weight1.00 Kg

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