Superb pair of antique Yoruba Ibeji dolls.
A lovely twin pair of Ibeji dolls from the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria with some of the original blue hair pigments, beaded collars and a lovely patina.
Ibeji means "twin". In traditional Yoruba culture, twins are regarded as sharing one soul. If one twin dies in infancy, the family have a wooden figure carved, to symbolise the dead twin. They tend this image as if it were alive: feeding, bathing, clothing, caressing it, and performing rituals on significant occasions, to restore the balance of the soul. This is a male and female pair, carved in wood and similar in appearance (one slightly smaller than the other). The hair is represented by carved lines and blue-painted as is traditional with these dolls. The faces also have the traditional scarification.
They have a lovely polished patina on all the protruding edges, gained from many years of handling. Both figures have collars of small deep blue beads. The female figure stands 24cm high whilst the male stands 23cm high