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Lot 0233
West Africa, Nigeria, Yoruba peoples, ca. early 20th century CE. A female Ere Ibeji twin figure, hand carved to represent a deceased twin, standing with her hands placed upon her hips, upon an integral round platform. The Ibeji is nude with prominent breasts and scarification marks accentuating her womb. Her facial features are delineated with large almond-shaped eyes (one with a metal pupil), a wide nose, and incised smile. Her upswept coiffure is arranged in plaited, lobed sections that are finely incised with cross-hatched patterns. She is also bedecked with beads - a single strand of black disc-shaped beads around her waist, a strand of cobalt blue beads around her left wrist, and adorning her neck - three strands or red, blue, multicolored blue, white, and red, and multicolored yellow and black beads. According to the Yoruba, twin effigies are believed to influence the daily lives of family members. As such, they are traditionally honored with prayers and libations. A very fine example with a nice patina and remains of red cinnabar pigment. Size: 3.625" W x 11.5" H (9.2 cm x 29.2 cm)

For context: The Yoruba are known for their carved sculptures of deceased male and female twin figures, known as Ibeji. The Yoruba have one of the highest number of twin births in the world, four times higher than in Europe, for example. Ibeji are known to the Yoruba as two people who share one soul. If one of the human twins dies, whether as a child or an adult, the surviving human twin is considered to have little hope of living with only half a soul. Further, the deceased's soul must have a place to reside. Hence, an ibeji figure is created.

Provenance: Ex-Adeon Gallery, Chicago, IL, acquired prior to 1970.

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One metal pupil missing. Age cracks to right side of head, back, and base. Old metal fasteners joining crack to left side of head. Expected surface wear. Nice patina.

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Superb African Carved Wooden Ibeji Female Twin

Estimate $1,000 - $2,000Mar 2, 2017
Louisville, CO, USA