Rare Yoruba Pair of Ibeji Figures, Nigeria, by Salakatu Ayo of Adugbologe
height of each 10 in (22.5 cm)
each signed underneath and each with similar inscription on the front of the base, the other wearing a fiber, bead and cowrie-shell attachment; fine varied dark-brown patina.
Private European Collection
The ere ibeji are clearly in the style of Adigbologe's workshop in Abeokuta and may have been carved by Ojerinde (Adigbologe) himself. (See Henry Drewal's study of the carvers of Abeokuta in Abiodun: Drewal, and Pemberton Yoruba Art and Aesthetics, Museum Rietberg, Zurich 1991:36-37.) With reference to Ojerinde, Drewal writes: "The delicacy of the fine detail in the carving, especially of the hair style, reflects the aesthetic of completeness (pipe) and design-consciousness (oju-ona)." One might also notice the fingertips touching the hips and the slight forward leaning of the figure. I have seen three other pairs of ere ibeji with the triangular mark carved on the base. All are the work of a carver in the Adigbologe compound. The mark appears to be the "signature" of the carver which is exceedingly rare among Yoruba carvers and has been attributed by some to Salakatu Ayo of the Adugbolge workshop.
John Pemberton III, Crosby Professor of Religion, Emeritus, Amherst College (September 2011, personal communication)