Nigeria, of characteristic form, the finely carved figure with lustrous patina, beaded necklace, and remains of camwood paste to the genital area. height 11in
Provenance: Wally and Brenda Zollman
Exhibited: Governors State University, IL, 2003; Krannert Art Museum, IL, 2003; Belger Art Foundation/University of Missouri-Kansas City, MO, 2004; Tall Grass Art Association, IL, 2005.
Published: Bourgeois and Rodolitz, REMNANTS OF RITUAL: SELECTIONS FROM THE GELBARD COLLECTION OF AFRICAN ART, Ethnos, New York, 2003, p.19, fig.43
The Yoruba have the highest rate of twin births of any people in the world. Additionally, the birth of twins is considered a magical event. Due to high infant mortality rates, one of the pair of children may die before the other, or in some cases, both may die. Upon the death specifically of a twin, wooden figurines are commissioned that must be treated with the same respect and care that the living child would be entitled to. This also holds true in the unfortunate case of the death of both twins. Having been carried, handled, and oiled by a young woman for a prescribed period of time, figurines of this type often attain a shiny surface such as is evident in this example. This figure probably comes form Igbomina, according to Bill Fagg.