Vintage Nigerian Ere Ibeji Figurine

Vintage Nigerian Ere Ibeji Figurine

1 available / Secondhand
R50 min. increment
Indicative market price: R1,000
bidorbuy ID: 248053699

 Vintage Nigerian Ere Ibeji Figurine.


Height: 365mm
Width at base: 70mm


This fascinating and mysterious 'Ibeji'  figurine  is Yoruba in origin and comes with an equally intriguing story.

They are rare and highly sought after by collectors of African Art. 

Often they are in pairs, but this one is a singular Ibeji, with female characteristics. It has been mounted onto a black resin plinth for gallery display.

*Note - some repair has been done to the base.


"The Yoruba of Nigeria and of the Benin Republic are known for having an extraordinarily high rate of multiple
births. The rate of twin births is one of the highest in the world, 45 of every 1,000 births (in the United States it
is 28.9 of every 1000). There is also a high mortality rate; half of the twins die shortly after birth.

In earlier times, new-born twins, or ibeji, as they are called, were believed to be evil, monstrous abnormalities
and infanticide was a common practice. However, such beliefs and practices were later superseded and
reversed, and by the middle of the 18th century twins came to be seen as a blessing; they were awarded the
status of minor deities, called Orishas, and their arrival was viewed as an omen of good fortune for the family.
By the 19th century the cult of the Ere Ibeji was firmly established and continues to this day. The death of one
or both twins is regarded as a great calamity for the family, one which requires immediate appeasement of the
soul of the deceased child" 

The cultural grieving process is well documented and may be observed in the carving of a figure known as 'Ere Ibeji' , which
both represents the lost child and serves as a ritual point of contact with the soul of the deceased. The carving
of the Ere Ibeji is commissioned under the guidance of an Ifa diviner, a Babalowo, whom the parents consult in
selecting the particular artist who will do the work. The sculpture itself represents a deceased infant, but is
carved with features and attributes of an adult. 

*Please add R50 for the secure packing and posting of this item. Thank you.


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