Aug 5, 2009
Aug 4, 2009

Pair of Twin Figures (Ère Ìbejì)

Pair of Twin Figures (Ère Ìbejì)

c. 1930s

Part of a set. See all set records

Wood, organic material, probably bluing, glass beads, and natural fiber

Each: 27.3 cm (10 3/4 in.)

Gift of Katherine C. White 1972.334



Among the Yoruba, who have the world's highest instance of multiple births, twins are regarded as sacred children. Should one die, the parents may commission a memorial figure. They then care for the figure (decorate, clothe, wash, and feed it), symbolically honoring and entertaining the spirit of the departed twin so it does not call its partner to join it in the otherworld. The indigo and washing blue in the hair and the red camwood cosmetic rubbed on the bodies of these figures are signs of the devotions of their former owners.

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