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Female “twin” figure with cowrie shell cloak (ere ibeji)

Female “twin” figure with cowrie shell cloak (ere ibeji)

Artist: Unknown
Culture: Yoruba peoples (Nigeria, Oyo region)
Date: 20th century
Medium: Wood, metal, glass beads, cowrie shell, cloth, fiber, and pigment
Dimensions:
10 5/8 x 9 1/16 x 7 1/16 inches (27 x 23 x 18 cm)
Classification: Sculpture
Credit Line: Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Robert M. Segaul
Label Text:The Yoruba have one of the highest rates of twin births in the world. Twins (ibeji) are considered special children whose birth signifies good fortune. The loss of a twin is considered a great misfortune. If a twin dies, the mother has a memorial figure (ere ibeji) made and the soul of the deceased twin is transferred to it. The figure is then kept in the home where the mother continues to care for it. This female twin figure wears a cloak of traditional cowrie shell currency, a sign of the material wealth and prosperity of the family who commissioned it.
Object number: 1975.57.6
In Collection(s)