Douglas Yaney Gallery
African Tribal Art - Haitian Paintings

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Yoruba tribe   male Ibeji
10" high
# y2169-7

Ibeji  The Yoruba have an extraordinarily high number of twins born and unfortunately  there is also a large number of deaths during childhood. 

Twins are considered to be powerful spirits, so upon the death of one or both twins, the ibeji, a small wood figure, is carved to represent the dead child.  The ibeji is treated just as if the child were still alive.  It is bathed. clothed, fed and generally looked after by the mother to assure that only good fortune is brought to the family. Ibejis are not carved to look like children but instead they appear as either male or female adults.