One of the three largest ethnic groups in Nigeria numbering over 20 million and in scattered groups in Benin and Togo, Yoruba are among the most skilled craftsmen of Africa, excelling in weaving, leatherworking, glassmaking, ivory and wood carving and especially metal working and lost wax bronze casting. Traditional Yoruba religion has a complex hierarchy of deities comprised of a supreme creator with some 400 lesser gods and spirits who are mostly associated with unique cults and priests. Historically, copper bracelets were produced, worn and used as currency in the Coastal Nigeria, as were used for marketing, dowries, paying fines, rituals like burials and to display and store personal wealth and were often hung over graves to show the deceased’s wealth. In 15th century European slave traders copied and made them in Europe. Yourba are also known for their wood Ere Ibeji carvings to honor and store energy of deceased twins. Our collection includes a Yoruba crown, wood carvings and manillas.

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  • SOLD Antique Yoruba Manilla Currency/Slave Bracelet, West Africa


    Manillas were commonly used by the Yoruba in the Coastal regions of Nigeria and along the Niger River. This thin simple round C-shaped manilla is decorated with incised linear designs on the outer round surface: it is centered on the top with parallel zig zag lines between a set of four parallel indentations which frame it. Each end also has zig zag indented striations.  Simple, yet elegant, the bracelet is in very good condition, with normal wear, and pitting that verify its age and use. It comes with a wood metal stand.

  • Sale!

    Vintage Carved Ibeji with Necklace, Africa, Nigeria Yoruba (1964BHA) SPECIAL PRICE

    Original price was: $475.00.Current price is: $335.00.
    H: 9.625″  W: 3″  D: 3″ | FREE SHIPPING WITHIN CONTINENTAL U.S.!

    This vintage Ibeji  portrays a simple yet strong elegance with his characteristic large conical head, long curved neck and elaborately striated hairstyle. His extremely large round bulging eyes under heavy lids, flaring nose, full lips, and large flat ears reflect the Yoruba idealized form of beauty and exemplify being a correct and upstanding example of tribal values. His prominent genitalia and buttocks and his sturdy vertical stance on wide feet, thick legs and strong rounded shoulders and arms symbolize his strength and fertility. Scarification patterns appear on his cheeks and forehead, and he wears a necklace with traditional Yoruba blue and multi colored beadwork.

  • Vintage Yoruba Cowrie Shell Head Shrine, Africa, Nigeria (1657BSK) $785

    H:15 ”  W: 9 ”  D: 9 ” | SHIPPING INFORMATION REQUIRED contact us at 213-568-3030

    This vintage handmade crown-like cowry shell-covered cylindrical “crown” called an ile ori and is a mixed-media cult of the head shrine to honor the head among the Yoruba people of Nigeria. Never meant to be worn, it is round, divided into sections and has four upward pointed curving triangular panels leaning inward and set in a sea of arranged cowries. The flat-topped symbolic crown is made with a wide rectangular cutout for viewing. As it is handmade, the size, placement and tones of the cowries may vary, but the design is very impressive.  This headdress was included in the San Francisco International Airport, “Crowning Achievements” exhibition in April-August, 1994. The headdress is in good shape with a dark patina showing age and use, some leather bindings lifting, minor insect damage to the fabric, scrapes on the leather and some missing cowry shells. It comes with a Lucite stand.


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  • Sale!

    Vintage Yoruba Ere Ibeji with High Round Hat, Nigeria (1963BHA) SPECIAL PRICE

    Original price was: $465.00.Current price is: $335.00.
    H: 7.125″  W: 2.125″  D: 2.25″ | Free Shipping IN CONTINENTAL U.S.!

    This finely carved Ibeji has distinctive Yoruba features. The elongated head is flat with full lips, thick eyelids, incised lashes, flat prominent ears, high stylized coiffure and scarifications The strong stance with hands on hips, massive legs and arms are visible signs of his fertility and power. His elongated head represents where one’s spirit, intelligence and the seat of divine power lie. With one of the world’s highest twin births rate but a high mortality rate, the Yoruba have a “twin cult” to revere deceased twins as potent spirits, and honor them with carved images to house their spirits and souls.

  • Sale!

    Vintage Yoruba Ere Ibeji with Thick Sandals, Nigeria (1967LAE) SPECIAL PRICE

    Original price was: $485.00.Current price is: $395.00.
    H: 9.5″  W: 3.25″  D: 3″ | FREE SHIPPING IN CONTINENTAL U.S.!

    This Nigerian Ibeji reflects the distinctive Yoruba artistic and cultural conventions with an oversized and elongated head where one’s spirit, intelligence and the seat of divine power lie, a high coiffure with plaits, bulging eyes with thick eyelids and incised lashes, smiling lips and scarification on his cheeks. His distinguishing features are his necklace with triangular pendants and remarkably high thick sandals that make him appear taller. With the world’s highest rates of twin births but high mortality rates, the Yoruba have developed a “twin cult” to honor the deceased twin(s) with carved images to house their spirits and souls.


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