Ere Ibeji Twin Figure


Shaki Style
Oyo Area

Carved wood, beads and pigments
Early 20th century
Height: 11 in. (28 cm)
Ex collection Josef Herman, London

New Beginnings – Parcours des Mondes 2017

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.
This ere ibeji with a fine aged brown patina, is distinguished by its refinement and expressivity. The erosion of the facial features is quite affecting, linked as it is to the statue being ritually handled and stroked generation after generation.