Japanese Antiques by Ichiban Oriental and Asian Art

An African Sculpture â Yoruba Ibeji Twin â 20th Century

An African Sculpture – Yoruba Ibeji Twin – 20th Century

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Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: African: Sculpture: Pre 1960: Item # 1120512

Please refer to our stock # 5gg* when inquiring.
This handsome wooden carving comes from the Yoruba Ibeji tribe of Africa, Ogbo Mosho Region of Nigeria. It measure 13 ½” high by 4 ¼” wide by 3 ½” deep. It is in excellent condition. This is a single carving that would have been one of a pair of twins – this one being the female figure. We date it to the early to mid 20th century. It is in excellent condition.

The Yoruba are a major African ethnic group; in their culture twins are traditionally very important beings. In the Yoruba language "ibeji" literally means "twins". Carved wooden figures made to house the soul of a dead twin are also called ibeji. These wooden figures, six to ten inches high and carved with the family mask, are often well tended. The Yoruba people believe that this care and tending helps ensure the survival of the other twin. In the Yoruba traditional religion, there is a deity that represents twins called Orisha Ibeji or Orisa Ibeji.