Yoruba Ibeji Twin Figure Doll Female African
Fine shinning patina. "Among the Yoruba, who have the highest rate of twins in the world, the arrival of twins is seen as both a blessing and an omen because of the high mortality rate.
If a twin died, an image dedicated to Ibeji ,the deity of twins, was carved to serve as the earthly abode for the spirit of the deceased. ("AFRICAN DOLLS FOR PLAY AND MAGIC," by Dagan.)"Among the Yoruba, twins have special powers, much like the orisha. and are to be treated with respect throughout their lives.
If a twin dies, the mother seeks a diviner's advice about which carver should make the ere ibeji to stand in for the dead child. Once the figure is carved, the artist activates it by soaking it in a special solution and rubbing it with specific oils.
The mother treats the ere ibeji as if it were alive, feeding, dressing, and bathing the image. Its face is washed with soap or sugarcane fiber, then rubbed with a cloth and indigo or laundry bluing. After a period of time, the facial features may be rubbed away."
See ISN'T S/HE A DOLL -PLAY AND RITUAL IN AFRICAN SCULPTURE" by Cameron.
And also "AFRICAN DOLLS FOR PLAY AND MAGIC," by Dagan.
I have examined this piece and agree with the description.
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.