Around 1950 - Good condition
In the language of the Youba people, ibeji comes from the contraction of the word twin: ibi = born and eji = two.
In earlier times, a gemellary birth “proved” the mother’s adultery and that twins resulted of two fathers: it has as consequence the murder of the mother and her twins.
Knowing that in the Yoruba country, 1 gemellary birth is counted for every 22 births (compared to 1 on 80 for the rest of the world...), the persistent murder of twins and of their mothers did not favour demographic growth. This attitude suddenly changed during the first half of the 19th century, when they entered into contact with the Christian missionaries.
Currently, supernatural powers are associated to them at their birth. They are able to bring happiness, health and prosperity to their families. They must be treated with respect and consideration.
They share one soul, and when one dies, the other one is in danger, because his soul becomes unbalanced. This balance must be re-established by sculpting an ibeji which will become the physical place of the deceased's soul.
Thus, the Ibeji is the guardian of the soul of the dead twin. This is the reason why it is treated with the same thoughtful care than the one given to the living twin. For example, when the mother breastfeeds the living twin, the Ibeji will also be positioned on the other breast. Mothers will take care of the Ibeji, wash them, feed them, look after them, carry them on their backs during festivities or family visits, and keep the statuettes next to their beds for the first years.
To learn more about the Ibeji, have a look at the page of Bernard Auriol, a psychoanalyst doctor, who offers us one of the most interesting works on the subject.
Polychrome Ibeji with oversized eyes and a wonderful brown patina. Wood and beads.
Height: 22,5 cm.
Width: 9 cm.
Depth: 8 cm.
Weight: 256 grams.
Sold without stand.
Provenance: private collection (France).
|Lid sinds:||19 maart 2017|
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