Ibeji is name of a very specific type of carved wooden figure from Yorubaland in Nigeria.
Ibeji figures represent essentially late (twin) children, and are treated like actual children. They are carried around, bathed, powdered, given jewellery.
With the present Ibeji, note the lovely signs of wear around the mouth, where the figure was ritually "fed".
An Ibeji was the first authentic tribal object I acquired in 2002. It's only very recently that I understood why I feel so strongly about these figures: it is the fact that they have been very deeply cared for by their original owners.
The sculpture of an Ibeji - headdress, scarifications, shape of eyes - varies from region to region in Yorubaland, and allow the collector to situate the area, or even the town, where the artwork was carved. The present Ibeji comes from the city of Ibadan, and is an excellent, pure example of this particular style. For reference purposes, the final photo in this listing comes from specialist Fausto Polo's "Ibeji Archive" where a very similar piece is catalogued. The second-to-last photo shows a pair of Ibadan ibejis in the book "Doppelleben-Ibeji_Zwillingsfiguren der Yoruba".
Nous parlons franais, und wir sprechen auch Deutsch! Paintings may be viewed in Norwich and in Paris, as well as in London and Cambridge by appointment. Please contact us if you would like further details and images of an artwork.
Date of manufacture : 1930
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