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

Sitting female wood figure (ibeji) on a rectangular base. Figure sits on a decorated four-legged stool. Stylized hair arrangement, prominent facial features, and three vertical double incisions on each cheek. Elongated neck, and exaggerated breasts. She is wearing a necklace, multiple bracelets on each arm, and a wrap around garment of geometrical design in which a child is held on her back. The child is wearing a hat, bracelets, and an ornate garment hanging on the shoulders, and hands resting on the mother's arms. A second child is wearing a loin cloth which rests across the woman's knees with the child's head cradled in her hands.