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ASK THE EXPERT - APR 2017

ASK THE EXPERT - APR 2017

Jean-Pierre would like to know if this Ibeji (23 cm high) is the n. 840 or 841 of the Catalog of the Ibeji and n. 565 or 570 of the “Encyclopedia of the Ibeji”.

The photo submitted shows a Ibeji of good level, with a nice natural patina and very small traces of camwood. It is enriched with several necklaces, around the neck and waist, attached by the mother after the carving of the Ibeji. The thin metallic round cuffs around the legs of the Ibeji are not ornaments, but have the purpose of warding off the spirits. With regard to the question of the collector, if the Ibeji has to be classified with the file 840 or 841, the answer is fairly simple. The characteristics of the file 841 come from the analysis of 3 elements: - the eyes - the ears - the hairstyle. The characteristics of these three identifying elements, as indicated in the second volume of the "Catalog of the Ibeji", can all be found in the Ibeji of the friend collector. It is also true that the Ibeji in the photos of the Catalog have a round base, while the Ibeji submitted has a base formed by two feet wearing high sandals. But the base type is only a secondary and not an identifying element, therefore it is not determinant for the identification of the Ibeji. Based upon the above, the correct identification of this Ibeji is then the file 841, from Omu Aran, even if the base is not round.The degree of rarity is SCARCE and it can also be identified with the photos n. 569 and 570 of the Encyclopedia of the Ibeji.