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Ibedji and twin worship in traditional African art
In Nigeria, in the past, the birth of twins was a bad sign accompanied by many superstitions, the most tragic of which was that the mother had been unfaithful and that this twin birth was the work of two fathers, which led to the murder of the mother. mother and her twins. Knowing that in Yoruba country, it is counted 1 twin birth every 22 births (1 out of 80 in the rest of the world ...) the systematic murder of the twins and their mother did not favor the demographic growth. This attitude changed abruptly in the first half of the nineteenth century.
Nowadays, at birth, they are associated with supernatural powers. They are able to bring happiness, health, and prosperity to their families. They must be treated with respect and consideration. They are one soul and if one dies, the other is in danger because the soul is unbalanced. Great misfortunes can reach the family. It is necessary to restore this balance by sculpting an Ibeji which will be the physical seat of the soul of the deceased.
The Ibeji is therefore the guardian of the soul of the dead twin. For this reason he is treated with the same caring care as the living twin. When, for example, the mother breast-feeds the living twin, the Ibeji is also positioned at the other breast; when the child is cleansed and washed, the Ibeji is washed in the same way and subsequently coated with a reddish mass, called Camwood, which is a mixture of crushed redwood and palm oil. The mother will take care of the Ibeji, wash them, feed them, look after them, carry them on her back at parties or visits to the family, and keep the statuettes near her bed during the first years.
Provenance : collection privée France Datation estimée : années 1960 Taille : 31 x 8 cm - 29 x 8 cm Matériaux :bois, cauris, perles
- Presumed dating
- Mid XXth century
- Ethnic group
- Tribal art collection France
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