Ere Ibeji (Male twin figure) - 2010.45.17_1


Ere Ibeji (Male twin figure)

Maker: Unidentified Yoruba artist
Medium:Wood, pigment
Geography: Nigeria
Date: before 1969
24.2 x 6.5 x 5.6 cm
Object number: 2010.45.17
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 twin figure with large head, bulging eyes, and towering, conical hairdo, tinted with indigo. 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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