An Ibeji twin figure. Among the Yoruba – Nigeria's largest ethnic group with more than 5 million members – twins are considered to be special. They are associated with a their own divinity, 'Ere Ibeji', and a separate cult. They share a common soul and are considered to bring good fortune and blessing to the family. Should one twin die, the deceased has to be represented by a carved figure called 'Ibeji' to house his/her part of the soul! Such Ibeji figures are treated much like the surviving twin: fed, washed, sung to, and venerated. Stylistically, the above female Ibeji twin figure indicates a carver belonging to the Igbuke sculptor dynasty, from the town of Oyo; brown, with remnants of powdered redwood (rubbed in); with a necklace of blue glass beads. small crack to the base; fine patina. 1st Half 20th Cent. H: 30 cm. (ME)
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