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Female Twin Memorial Figure (Ere Ibeji) with Shango Senior Cowrie-Embroidered Vest (Ewu Owo)
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Female Twin Memorial Figure (Ere Ibeji) with Shango Senior Cowrie-Embroidered Vest (Ewu Owo), result 1 of 1

Item Details
Public
Available to everyone
Culture
Yoruba, Oyo Region, New Oyo
Title
Female Twin Memorial Figure (Ere Ibeji) with Shango Senior Cowrie-Embroidered Vest (Ewu Owo)
Work Type
Effigy, figure, textile
Date
20th Century
Location
Creation Site: West Africa, Nigeria
Material
Wood, cowrie shells, pigment, leather
Measurements
4 15/16 x 13 x 13 in. (12.5 x 33 x 33 cm)
Description
According to the Yoruba peoples of Nigeria, twins share a single soul. If one twin dies the living twin is in danger of following it. In the event of a twin's death, the parents consult an Ifa diviner, who may decide that a ere ibeji should be carved as a substitute for the deceased child, though today photographs often replace carvings. The ibeji houses the soul for the benefit of the living soul by re-establishing the unity of the two. By caring for the ibeji, the family keeps the deceased child's spirit happy in the afterlife and ensures that the living twin does not die in order to join its deceased half. Though associated with individual deceased children, ere ibeji are not portraits. The ibeji seen here exhibit Yoruba notions of adult beauty and moral virtue. Smooth surfaces, decorative scarification marks and elaborate hair patterns denote a healthy and fully socialized adult. Physical perfection is evident in the figure's youthful appearance and sexually mature features. The erect bearing of each statue indicates moral intelligence and mental alertness. The hands held to the sides and the firm stances of the feet give the figure a respectful attitude that indicates good character. Beads, metal bracelets, and cowrie shell jackets are added by the mother to protect and honor the deceased child. Once the ere ibeji is carved, it is consecrated, an act that transforms the artist's work into an efficacious intermediary and vessel for the child's spirit (emi). The figure is soaked in a medicine of leaves and water, and palm oil and shea butter are rubbed into its surface. Ibeji are then placed on family altars and are bathed, dressed, rubbed with camwood and indigo, fed, taken to the market place, and played with, just as living children would be. Not only is the image a new physical body in which the deceased child's soul can rest, but it is also a positive psychological vehicle to assist a mother overcome the grief of losing a child. This ibeji was carved by a student of the Ibuke School founded by brothers Ogunleke Ajala Ibuke (born ca. 1980) and Ajaka Ajao Ibuke (born ca. 1893).
Repository
Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University
Accession Number
1994.004.795
Source
Ex coll. William S. Arnett
Photographer: Bruce White
Published References
Henry J. Drewal, African Artistry: Technique and Aesthetics in Yoruba Culture. An Exhibition of Yoruba Art from the Arnett Collection (Atlanta: High Museum of Art, 1980), 59, number 82.
Exhibition History
Art of Nigeria from the William S. Arnett Collection, Michael C. Carlos Museum, October 15, 1994 - January 2, 1995
Divine Intervention: African Art and Religion, Michael C. Carlos Museum, February 5 - December 4, 2011
Paper Moon, Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia, August 30 - December 6, 2012
On View
No
Rights
© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White 2010.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University. This image is available under the ArtStor Digital Library Terms and Conditions of Use only. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University. This image is available under the ArtStor Digital Library Terms and Conditions of Use only. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.
This image has been selected and made available by a user using Artstor's software tools. Artstor has not screened or selected this image or cleared any rights to it and is acting as an online service provider pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §512. Artstor disclaims any liability associated with the use of this image. Should you have any legal objection to the use of this image, please visit http://www.artstor.org/copyright for contact information and instructions on how to proceed.
License
Use of this image is in accordance with the applicable Terms & Conditions
File Properties
File Name
16758427.fpx
SSID
16758427

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