SALE END DATE AND TIME
July 31, 2016 : SALE CLOSED
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A pair of stylistically uncommon (and highly collectible) ibeji twins from Ilorin, with exceptional detail and enough asymnetry to assert a clear lack of intention to carve for the Western eye. Rich, smooth patina with edges not artificially softened and areas of pigment deposits remaining. For the Yoruba, a mother of twins is indeed doubly blessed. With the birth of her twins, comes the family’s ability to attain a better life through the aid of these special children who are considered close to the gods. As is often the case in Africa, and in life, good fortune can turn to disaster if it is not handled properly. The Yoruba believe that special ceremonies must be performed, praise songs sung and special foods be served to twins so that they can maintain their favor with the Gods and hence that of their family .Further description: For the Yoruba, a mother of twins is indeed doubly blessed. With the birth of her twins, comes the family’s ability to attain a better life through the aid of these special children who are considered close to the gods. As is often the case in Africa, and in life, good fortune can turn to disaster if it is not handled properly. The Yoruba believe that special ceremonies must be performed, praise songs sung and special foods be served to twins so that they can maintain their favor with the Gods and hence that of their family.
The Yoruba people are widely known as having the highest naturally occurring rates of twinning in the world. Unfortunately, the mortality rate for twins is also high. If the birth of twins is cause for great celebration, the passing of a twin is cause for great mourning. If one or both of a pair of twins dies, the family will consult a diviner (babalowo) who may say that a small wooden figure must be carved to contain the spirit of the lost child. The figure resembles what the child might have looked like in the prime of life - had the full promise of its birth been realized.
Cathartically, the grieving Yoruba mother traditionally cares for the carved ibeji figure as she would have cared for her real child - it is carried home tied in its mother’s wrapper as she sings and dances to praise it. When home, it is caressed, offered food, anointed with oils and spends the night on a mat in its mother’s bedroom, wrapped in a cloth to keep it warm. To see an ibeji figure with features that have been nearly rubbed away to a rich patina is to witness the constant caress of a loving mother whose love could not be diminished, even in death.Pemberton III, Picton, Fakeye, Chemeche, “Ibeji: The Cult of Yoruba Twins”; Museum for African Art, “Doubly Blessed: The Ibeji Twins of Nigeria”; Polo, “Encyclopedia of the Ibeji”; Visona, “A History of Art In Africa”, Fagg, W. “Cult of Yoruba Twins”.
Photo source: Ibeji, The Cult of Yoruba Twins @ Deborah Stokes (1980)
|Lot ID: 90|
|Low Estimate: $2,500|
|High Estimate: $5,500|
|Next Bid: $1,250|
|Sale ID: 6|
|Sale Date: July 28, 2016|
|Sale Location: Virtual Auction|
|Sale Sponsor: African Artworks from Berz Gallery of African Art|
|Sale Terms: View here|
|Live Bidding Link: SALE CLOSED|
|Location of Origin: Africa|
|Medium/Materials: wood, stain, camwood, pigment, oils|
|Dimensions: 9.5" (24.13 cm) height|
|Primary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art : Country - Nigeria|
|Secondary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art : Object Type - Statue|
|The word ‘Yoruba’ describes both a language and a tribe living across Nigeria and the Popular Republic of Benin, in an area of forest and savannah. Their origins can be traced back to the end of the first millennium like the civilization of Ife. Following the collapse of the Ife civilization, a number of kingdoms such as the Ijebu and the Oyo emerged. They, in turn, disintegrated during the 18th and 19th centuries, but were revived by the colonial powers at the end of the 19th century and today still form the political structure of the Yoruba people. The enormous scale of the slave trade in Nigeria contributed to the Diaspora of the Yoruba people and informed spiritual practices in countries such as Haiti (Ref: Bacquart, “Tribal Arts of Africa”; Beckwith and Fisher, “African Ceremonies”; Fagg, Pemberton and Holcombe, “Yoruba,” 1982). Yoruba culture and links to traditional Yoruba religion and belief systems are integrated heavily in an area that spans the Caribbean and Southern United States and Cuba, Brazil and Latin America, and throughout parts of Europe and Africa. Further expertise:Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought, Drewal, Pemberton III, Abiodun, Wardwell, Ibeji, Chemeche, Yoruba: An Art of Life, Cooksey and Mato, Ibeji: The Cult of Yoruba Twins, Chemeche|
|Provenance: Ex Philippe Laeremans (certificate of authenticity and ownership included), Exhibition History: Vetted by committee as authentic and exhibited at BRUNEAF Brussels, January 2016|
|Price:||Price on Request|
|Offered By:||CLOSED: African Artworks : 146 Lots : July 28-30|
|Contact:||The Curator's Eye|
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