Ibeji

Archives | Nigeria

Ibeji

Nigeria

Yoruba Ere Ibeji Twin figures
Shaki style
Oyo Area

Carved wood, pigments, cowrie shell, beads, fibers
Early 20th century
Height: 9 ½ in. and 10 ½ in.
(24.5 cm and 26.5 cm)

Ex collection Helmut Zake, Heidelberg

Sold
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.
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