Vintage Wood Carved Ibeji with High Round Hat, Nigeria, Yoruba (1965BHA) $385



Ibeji carvings from Nigeria are idealized folk art conforming to Yoruba artistic and cultural conventions without closely reflecting human likenesses. Symmetrical and restrained with oversized elongated heads where one’s spirit, intelligence and the seat of divine power lie, they often have detailed linear coiffures that can be a third or more of the figure’s body size. Having one of the world’s highest rates of twin births but a high mortality rate, the Yoruba have developed a “twin cult” revering deceased twin(s) as potent spirits, call them ere Ibeji and honor them with carved images to access their spirits and souls after death. Ibeji are protected by Shango, the Orisha (deity) of Thunder, and Ibejis draw energy from the supernatural world to bring wealth, prosperity and fertility to families or adversity to those not honoring them. Mothers ritually wash and clothe them daily and provide prayers, sacrifices and spiritual care. Repetitive washing and handling often result in a surface with a fine patina that portrays ideal adults with detailed coiffures and scarifications that vary by region. The characteristics of this Ibeji image depart somewhat from more traditional ones. His head is rounder and smaller in proportion to his body on a short stocky rather than a tall thin neck and he wears a simple tall hat rather than a plaited coiffeur. His bulging eyes are dotted with round indentations, his ears are smaller, and his prominent lips are in slight smile. The vertical scarification indicates he is a member of the Pele clan. He stands powerfully in traditional Ibeji stance with strong rounded neck and shoulders, hands at the hips, and genitals here under a loincloth.


In traditional Yoruba societies, every child is born into a patrilineal clan with unique facial marks , scarifications, that bestow the child with full clan membership rights; without these marks do not

Additional information

Dimensions 12 × 9 × 6 in
Place of Origin



Vintage (1920-1980)


circa 1960

Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 7.75” W: 2.625” D: 2”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 19.68cm W: 6.67cm D: 5.08cm


5.2 oz


Very good, patina and wear consistent with age and use

Item Number


Shipping Box Size