MID 20th Century Yoruba Female Ere Ibeji Figure



h 31cm


Carved wooden bust of a woman with coral and cowrie shell earrings and fabric bodice fabric covered in cowrie shells (cowrie shells are a symbol of wealth and prosperity). This, mid 20th century, regal ibeji figure from the south-west of Nigeria wears a four crested coiffure and bears four tribal marks on either side of her mouth. She stands on a round base which has been recently mounted on plexiglass to facilitate viewing. In the Yoruba culture the death of a twin will often prompt the parents to consult an Ifa or divination priest and commission a sculptor to carve an ere ibeji. The sculptor has almost complete aesthetic control over the final features and form of the work. Although the sculptures represent a deceased infant, they are carved with the features of an adult. Once the sculpture is completed, it is taken care of as if it were a child. The piece is in very good condition, retains its patina, and has no damage.