African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Yoruba figure
Ere Ibeji Yoruba figure (N° 21535)
Wearing braids organized in an arched crest, this female statuette rising from a circular base has deep scarification, beaded necklaces embellished with grigris and large rings constituting the protective ornaments abiku .
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Carved according to the indications of the Ifa transmitted to the diviner, the babalawo, the Ibedji statuettes played the role of substitute for the death of the child.
The statuettes are then treated as the missing child would have been. It is the mother who must take care of them; she anoints them with oil and feeds them regularly. If she disappears, the remaining twin takes over.
Considered as much more than a physical representation of a loved one. The ibedji statues influence the life of the family, which is why the latter continues to address prayers to them and to dedicate worship and libations to them.
These ibedji statues are among the most famous art objects 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.