Nigeria, Yoruba Peoples | Ere Ibeji Figures
Ere Ibeji Figures
with cowrie shells
31cm. high; 12in.
Attractively patinated. Typical ingrained dirt to both. Traces of blue pigment to each head. Rubbing to raised areas. Applied shell and bead decoration with typical dirt. Each base with a later felt lining.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
The figures offered here ere ibeji (‘ere’ means sacred image, ‘ibi’, means born and ‘eji’ means two). A family would look after these figures as if they were real twins, feeding, bathing, carrying them like babies and adorning them in fine clothes (like the beaded jackets offered in lots 152, 153). Rituals are performed on significant occasions, to ensure the balance of this shared soul. There is often wear from this process over the generations as evidenced in the next lot with wear to some of the carved details.
Interestingly a first born Yoruba twin is called 'Taiwo', meaning ‘having the first taste of the world’, and the second born is called 'Kehinde', which means ‘arriving after the other’.