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THE QUESTION

THE ANSWER


These two ivory statuettes were carved in fairly recent times. They are both an imitation of the well known statuettes called Ibeji. These two statuettes cannot be defined as Ibeji because the Yoruba religious traditions, enforced in all the villages by the Babalawo , said the Ibeji  could only made with wood. The wood was the material to be used for two main reasons:

- The Ibeji had to have on his body a layer of camwood or the sacrifical patina. Both the camwood and the sacrifical patina could not adhere to the surface of the ivory.

- The Ibeji had to be made in wood to burn easily , when, with the death of the mother or of the other twin, he would lose all the power and would be only a piece of wood, to be used as source of heat.

The area of provenance of these statuettes seems to be the area of Niger. This comes from to the carved symbol on the abdomen of the two figures, similar to an Adages cross. In addition, the scarifications on the statuettes are sign of a symbolism very different from the Yoruba symbolism. I don’t believe these statuettes have a tribal provenance and I believe they are objects made for the tourists.

Their value is only related to the material they are made of, ivory, and to the personal aesthetic evaluation.


                                Fausto Polo




                         

                                





BACK. ila orangun bamgbose

Massimo from Italy would like to know if these two ivory statuette are Ibeji, the area of provenance, the period they were carved, and their value.