Yoruba Ere-Ibeji

EXAMPLES PAGE
EXAMPLES BELOW ARE NOT IN MY COLLECTION - THEY ARE FOR REFERENCE PURPOSES ONLY
CLICK HERE to see the Ibeji figures in my collection
Twin figures, ibeji, by the Master of the Owu Shango Shrine.
Yoruba, Nigeria.
Wood, beads; 28.5cm (11.3"). 1997.3.1, 1997.3.2.
Denver Art Museum, Denver Colorado
Christie's - Paris
Art Africain et Océanien
Auction Date : Jun 7, 2005

Lot 203 :  STATUETTE YOROUBA

Description
Nigéria
Ibeji, représentant un personnage féminin debout sur une base carrée, la bordure à motif
de triangles, le visage aux joues scarifiées, les yeux aux pupilles insérées de clous de métal,
la coiffure en tresses se terminant par un chignon à l'arrière du crâne, le corps richement
orné de différents colliers, bijoux et pendentifs et des boucles d'oreilles en perles de verre
multicolores.
Hauteur: 25 cm.


Estimate:€ 1,000 - € 1,500
Price Realized:€ 19,200
$ 23,133
Christie's - Paris
Art Africain, Océanien et Précolombien
Auction Date : Dec 8, 2004

Lot 160 :  PAIRE DE STATUETTES YOROUBA

Description
Nigéria
Ere Ibedji, représentant deux hommes debout sur des bases circulaires, les mains sur les hanches, les
visages scarifiés, les coiffures coniques incisées rehaussées de pigment indigo, l'un avec un collier de
perles noires autour de la taille, l'autre avec un bracelet en fer et un collier de perles noires autour de la
cheville. Patine sombre avec restes de poudre.
Hauteurs: 29.5 et 30 cm (2)


Estimate:€ 2,000 - € 3,000
Price Realized:€ 2,585  
$ 3,114


Provenance
Lester Wundermann, New York
Sotheby's - New York
African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art
Auction Date : Nov 11, 2004

Lot 88 :  A YORUBA PAIR OF MALE TWIN FIGURES

Description
ibejis, Igbomina region, each of similar form, with rounded hips, one encircled with beads at the ankles and waist,
the arms held to the sides and incised pendants at the chest and back, with softly worn stylized features including
jutting chins, full lips and large, diamond-shaped eyes framed by pointed, back swept ears and wearing toque-like,
four-pointed coiffures; aged and encrusted blackened patina.

Dimensions
height of tallest 11 in. 28cm


Estimate:$ 3,000 - $ 5,000  
Price Realized:$ 0    


Provenance
PROPERTY FROM AN AMERICAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Acquired in Amsterdam, 1960's
Samuel T. Freeman & Co. - Philadelphia
Bernstein Collection: African & Oceanic
Auction Date : May 22, 2004

Lot 183 :  TWO CARVED WOOD IBEJI FIGURES

Description
One with beaded belt, other with beaded necklace. Hts: 10, 10 1/2 in.


Estimate:$ 500 - $ 700  
Price Realized:$ 200
Sotheby's - New York
African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art
Auction Date : May 14, 2004

Lot 59 :  A FINE PAIR OF YORUBA TWIN FIGURES

Description
ere ibeji, Ila-Orangun, Igbomina group, each of similar standing form, the female with beads encircling the waist, the
male and female with beads and an incised pendant encircling the neck, the large stylized heads with rounded
chins bisected by a double-raised ridge beneath the protruding mouths and eyes outlined with zigzag incising, the
female with a striated upswept coiffure, the male with a conical coiffure; heavily encrusted and finely worn patina.

Dimensions
height of tallest 11 1/8 in. 28.5cm


Estimate:$ 5,000 - $ 7,000  
Price Realized:$ 9,000    


Provenance
Acquired in Amsterdam, circa 1965

Notes
Cf. Sotheby's New York, May 17, 2002, lot 2 and Drewal, Pemberton, Abiodun (1989: 33, figure 33) for a related
ere-ibeji pair by Bogunjoko of Ila-Orangun (1800-1870). See also Chemeche (2003: figures 140 and 141) for
related pairs and discussion.
Sotheby's - New York
African & Oceanic Art
Auction Date : Nov 14, 2003

Lot 60 :  A SUPERB YORUBA MALE TWIN FIGURE, PROBABLY BY THE MASTER OF THE ARCHAIC
SMILE OR ATELIER

Description
DETAILED DESCRIPTION
ibeji, standing on a circular base with arms held to the side, the square shoulders beneath the elongated
neck encircled by a carved necklace with triangular pendant and another necklace with blue and red beads,
the face with smiling mouth, sagittate nose and bulging eyes with pronounced lids and prominently incised
lashes beneath an upswept conical coiffure with incised linear motifs; exceptionally fine and varied dark
brown patina heavily encrusted in areas of camwood powder.

Dimensions
height 10 3/4 in. 27.3cm


Estimate:$ 5,000 - $ 7,000  
Price Realized:$ 3,600    


Provenance
PROPERTY FROM AN AMERICAN COLLECTION

Acquired in Amsterdam, mid-1960's

Notes
Cf. Sotheby's New York, April 21, 1990, lot 329 for a related ibeji figure from the Archaic Smile master
formerly in the Harry A. Franklin collection. According to Fagg and Pemberton (1982: 140), 'The southern
Igbomina town of Ila-Orangun is famous for its generations of carvers associated with Inurin's compound in
Isperin quarter. One of the most famous is called by William Fagg 'the master of the archaic smile'. A
comparison of several examples at the National Museum, Lagos and in other collections suggests that more
than one carver worked in this style. Marilyn Houlberg (personal communication, 1981), who studied ibeji
figures from Ila, notes that three documented carvings of this style in the National Museum belonged to
persons in Obasaba's compound in Isperin quarter were said to have been carved between 1850 and
1885. 'The unknown carver of these enchanting figures has defied the convention of the passive or somber
facial expression. He has exaggerated the lips and given prominence to the chin in a fashion that is almost
uniquely seen among the carvers of Inurin's compound' (Sotheby's 1990).
Sotheby's - New York
African & Oceanic Art
Auction Date : Nov 14, 2003

Lot 49 :  A PAIR OF YORUBA TWIN FIGURES

Description
DETAILED DESCRIPTION
ibejis, each of similar form and wearing a shared tunic with elaborate beadwork in geometric motifs, the
necks encircled with glass beads, the broad faces with finely worn features including smiling mouths,
flat noses and upturned eyes beneath an upswept single crested striated coiffure; fine blackened
patina with areas of indigo at the coiffure.

Dimensions
height of tallest 13 1/4 in. 33.7cm


Estimate:$ 4,000 - $ 6,000  
Price Realized:$ 2,400    


Provenance
PROPERTY FROM AN AMERICAN COLLECTION

Acquired in Amsterdam, mid-1960's
Examples directly below are from the book:
ISN'T S/HE A DOLL

In more recent times, some Yoruba people started using commercially produced plastic dolls as ere ibeji figures
Noimoto, a Yoruba woman,
is using a plastic doll as an ere Ibeji
Photographed by Marilyn Houlberg, Igbo-Ora, Nigeria,
1970
Commercially produced dolls used as ere ibeji.
Yoruba peoples, Nigeria Plastic, metal Taller 25 cm
UCLA Fowler Museum
Images of Ibeji figures from the "Oyo Region"
Ibeji pair
Kisi, Oyo
H 9.5" and 10.5"
Private collection, New York
Ibeji figure
Kisi, Oyo
h 10.75"
Gabriela Brown, Tel Aviv
Ibeji pair
Igbuke, Oyo
H. 11" (28 cm)
Mottas Collection, Lausanne
I am currently working on this page to
add MANY pictures of Ibeji figures.

Check back soon for more pictures
and information.
Some pictures of some nice pieces
showing different styles.
Click on an image to see larger picture.
For more information on the Ibeji figures and a great article by
David Zemanek of www.tribalartsforum.org click on the link below
(
this is the article that first got me interested in these figures):

The Yoruba Ibedji Twin Cult
Click below to go to the article

Yoruba Customs and Beliefs Pertaining to Twins

It's a GREAT article with lots of interesting information on
the Yoruba people and the Ere-Ibeji figures.
It's not a very long article and it's worth the read!
Ibeji - The Cult of Yoruba Twins is an excellent reference book on the Ibeji figures and
contains hundreds of images and lots of information. I highly recommend this book!

Click on the photo of the cover of the book to go to Amazon.com to see the book.
Ibeji figure (female)
Igbuke, Oyo region, Nigeria
H. 11 1/4"
Collection of George Chemeche, NY
From the book -
Ibeji - The Cult of
Yoruba Twins
Ibeji figure (female)
Igbuke, Oyo region, Nigeria
H. 11"
Collection of Susan Allen, Boston
From the book -
Ibeji - The Cult of
Yoruba Twins
Ibeji figure (female)
Igbuke, Oyo region, Nigeria
H. 11 1/4"
Collection of Drs. Noble and Jean
Endicott, NY
From the book -
Ibeji - The Cult of
Yoruba Twins