Ere Ibeji (Male twin figure) - 2010.45.24_1

2010.45.24_1

Ere Ibeji (Male twin figure)

Maker: Unidentified Yoruba artist
Medium:Wood, pigment
Geography: Nigeria
Date: Collected in 1970
Dimensions:
24.6 x 8 x 9.5 cm
Object number: 2010.45.24
Credit Line: The Jack Lieber Collection of Yoruba Art.
On view
Gallery Location:Shreyas and Mina Ajmera Gallery of Africa, the Americas and Asia-Pacific
DescriptionStanding male figure with large head, triangular crest hairdo, and protruding genitals. The thin body of the figure is rubbed with camwood, a sign of ritual care. Ere ibeji are figurines carved to house the spirit of a deceased twin. The Yoruba have the highest rate of twin births in the world. Since twins tend to be more delicate babies, it is not uncommon for one or both to die during or shortly after childbirth. Because the Yoruba believe that twins have great spiritual power, and can bring either prosperity or misfortune to a household, it is important to keep the spirit of a deceased twin appeased, and prevent the spirit of the living twin from wishing to join its partner. When the mother receives the ere ibeji figure, it is bathed, clothed, and fed just like a living child. Today, people may also use commercially produced dolls or even photos as “twin figures” in the ibeji worship.
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