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    Artist Name:

    Yoruba Artist

    Nationality & Life Dates:



    Pair of Twin Figures (ère ìbejì)


    nineteenth century


    Wood, pigment, beads, and cowrie shells


    13 3/4 inches

    Credit Line:

    Fred and Rita Richman Collection

    Accession Number:


    On View - Wieland Pavilion, Lower Level, Gallery 102
    Twins are more common in Yoruba communities than anywhere else in the world. Ère ìbejì figures such as these represent deceased twin children. When a twin dies, a figure is carved to localize the spirit of the deceased. If neglected, its spirit might feel abandoned and invite the soul of the surviving twin to join it in the beyond. The smooth, worn surfaces of these figures show that they have been cared for devotedly. Their elaborate ceremonial coiffures are rubbed with a powdered dye called Rickett’s blueing, which was used by the British to whiten laundry during the colonial era. Yoruba artists used the powder as a substitute for indigo.

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    Please Note: Not all permanent collection works are currently on view. Please contact the Museum concerning the on view status for a specific work if required.

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