ère ìbejì (Figure)

About this object

History of use

Ère Ìbejì is a wooden figure that was carved in honour of a twin who died. Yorubas believe that twins share a soul, so the family was to treat the figure as they would if the twin was still physically present. As a result, the twin was fed, washed and cared for.

Physical description

Standing wood figure (ibeji) on oval base. Male figure with long neck; trunk and arms are on short, stocky legs with long feet. Arms at the sides. Has genitalia, protruding stomach, nipples, and buttocks. Blue lapis lazuli(?) beads on cotton string around neck. Carved facial features in relief of large closed ovoid eyes and eight incised notches on each cheek. Wearingpointed headdress with crest front to back and patterning of incised lines. Carved wood piece with dark brown patina.