ASK THE EXPERT - AUG 2016
Vincenzo from Italy would like to know if this statue is an Ibeji or a Shrine figure, the provenance and the degree of rarity. The height is 26 cm.
Undoubtedly this statue is an Ibeji and not a Shrine figure. In fact, the Shrine figures are divided in two classic types: - female figure, which normally brings a courtyard animal as an offer or is in position of offering her own breasts; - male figure, which normally does not bring any offer, but it is carved with all the symbols of the power, in particular with a scepter, or a short sword, in his right hand. In summary, this is clearly an Ibeji, very well carved and with a patina of ancient date. He wears a short shirt on which is draped, on the front and back, the typical Tirah. The particular sculpture of the Islamic triangle, very old, leads me to believe that the Ibeji was carved in the late 1800's or early 1900’s. The presence of the shirt and the high quality of the sculpture makes me also believe that the Ibeji was carved for death of the son of a prominent tribal chief. I believe that the area of provenance of this Ibeji is the Igbomina region and the town of the workshop was Ila Orangun. A similar Ibeji is found on the photos 548 and 556 of the “Encyclopedia of the Ibeji".