|Title||Yoruba Ibeji Figure Cowry Shell Vest Nigeria African Art|
|Type of Object||Carving|
|Country of Origin||Nigeria|
|Materials||Wood, cowrie shells, cotton cloth, pigment|
|Approximate Age||20th century|
|Dimensions||Height: 10.25 Inches
Width: 5 Inches
|Damage/Repair||Cracks, chips and a well worn patina|
Additional Information: The Yoruba of Nigeria and of the Benin Republic are known for having an extraordinarily high rate of multiple births. In earlier times, new-born twins, or ibeji, as they are called, were believed to be evil, monstrous abnormalities and infanticide was a common practice. However, such beliefs and practices were later superseded and reversed, and by the middle of the 18th century twins came to be seen as a blessing; they were awarded the status of minor deities, called Orishas, and their arrival was viewed as an omen of good fortune for the family. By the 19th century the cult of the Ere Ibeji was firmly established and continues to this day. The death of one or both twins is regarded as a great calamity for the family, one which requires immediate appeasement of the soul of the deceased child.
Daniel Mato and Chelsea Cooksey, YORUBA-THE ART OF LIFE-THE BENNETT_LUTHER COLLECTION, Dr.
George Chemeche, IBEJI, THE CULT OFF YORUBA TWINS, 2003 Elizabeth Cameron, ISN'T S/HE A DOLL -PLAY AND RITUAL IN AFRICAN SCULPTURE