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Ere Ibeji Twin Figures

Nigeria / Benin

Nago Style

Carved wood, beads
Early 20th century
Height: 10 ¼ in and 10 ½ in.
(26 cm et 27 cm)

Ex collection Alain de Monbrison, Paris
Ex collection Alberto Costa, Barcelone
Ex private collection, Spain

Exhibited:
Barcelona, Centre Cultural de la Fundacion “la Caixa”, Africa : Magia y poder. 2500 anos de arte en Nigeria, September 23th – December 13th, 1998

Published:
Africa : Magia y poder. 2500 anos de arte en Nigeria, Picton & Coquet, 1998, n° 171

Price: sold

Western Africa
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The statuettes linked to twin worship, are called ere ibeji in the Yoruba language: ere signifying a sacred image, ibi born and eji a double. Symbols of prestige, wealth and fecundity, ere ibeji figures also guaranteed the perpetuation of future generations. These effigies of ancestors were an integral part of everyday activities, punctuating the family life of the Yoruba. Subject to very codified rituals, ere ibeji figures were pampered, with their care including feeding, washing and oiling.
They were considered to be living beings, a reincarnation of ancestor-twins. Representations always showed them at the peak of their strength and power in adulthood.