Ɵ Ibeji Statuette, Yoruba People, Nigeria... - Lot 50 - Binoche et Giquello

Lot 50
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Estimation :
20000 - 35000 EUR
Ɵ Ibeji Statuette, Yoruba People, Nigeria... - Lot 50 - Binoche et Giquello
Ɵ Ibeji Statuette, Yoruba People, Nigeria
Around 1860
Wood with superb patina and metals
H. 30 cm
Ibeji Figure, Yoruba, Nigeria
H. 11 1/2 in
Provenance:
- Samir Borro, Brussels
- Bernard de Grunne, Brussels
- Private collection
In Yoruba territory on the Benin-Nigeria border, twin births are said to be more frequent than in the rest of the world. Twins are considered to be almost supernatural beings, possessing only a single and unbreakable soul.
In the case of the disappearance of one of the twins, a specific cult is rendered to him through a statuette called ibeji, which has become the seat of the soul of the deceased. In the case of the death of both, it is to a couple of statuettes that the required sacrifices are offered. Etymologically, ibeji means 'born twice'.
Although a large number of ibeji statuettes have come down to us, the present one stands out for its imposing stature and the beautiful quality of its sculpture, which can be described as classical. Its muscular masses and limbs are decoupled into a superb architecture. Its superb patina bears witness to a long cult use. The erased features of the face, so often ritually washed and rubbed, reveal, however, the volume of a small beaky mouth characteristic of the style of the Igbomina populations of the centre of the country. The eyes are now indicated only by wrought-iron nails. The heavy brass bracelets on his wrists and ankles indicate the wealth of the family that once commissioned him from a master carver.
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