YorubaREGION OF ORIGIN:
Wood, pigment, beads.SIZE:
12" (30.5 cm)CONDITION:
Ibeji is a Yoruba term meaning twins. There is a common belief in Yoruba religion that both twins share one soul, so if one twin dies at a young age, the balance of the soul is thrown off or disturbed. The death rate of children is very high in Africa, and on account of this, a ritual is carried out to put the twins' soul back into balance.
The Ifá priest chooses a well-established carver to create a small figure that symbolizes the dead child. The carver is free to create a figure of the twin in his own image of what he felt about the twin. If both twins die, then two figures are made. The soul is then spiritually transported into the figures. These figures are called ere ibeji. Ibi means born, eji means two, and ere means sacred image. The figure remains as respected and as powerful as the person it represents. The children's parents must treat the statue as if it were real, so it is bathed, fed, and clothed just as it would be in life.
The figure is particularly special to the mother, who keeps the figure close to her bed. She rubs the figure with red wood powder to maintain the look of slickness, and she caresses the figure in a loving manner. Rituals and prayers are performed for the child's birthday and other celebrations or festivals.
Rare, aged and ritually used. Excellent specimen.