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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  • Small Vintage Carved Male Ibeji, Africa, Nigeria, Yoruba People (1963BHA)

    H: 7.125″  W: 2.125″  D: 2.25″ | Free Shipping!

    This small finely carved hardwood has distinctive Yoruba Ibeji features. The elongated head is flat with full lips, thick eyelids, incised lashes, flat prominent ears and the nose and chin are centered with cheeks and eyes on opposite sides of a thin conical head. A stylized coiffure divides each side into sections with plaited linear designs and scarifications appear across his face and often on his body. The strong stance with hands on his hips is supported by massive legs low to the ground, his member is visible, the buttocks jut outward and both are signs of his fertility and power as are his thick rounded shoulders and arms.

  • 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.

  • Vintage Carved Ibeji with Necklace, Africa, Nigeria Yoruba (1964BHA) $475

    H: 9.625″  W: 3″  D: 3″ | FREE SHIPPING!

    This vintage Ibeji carved image 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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  • Vintage Yoruba Ere Ibeji with Thick Sandals, Nigeria (1967LAE) $485

    H: 9.5″  W: 3.25″  D: 3″ | FREE SHIPPING!

    This Nigerian tribal carving displays the distinctive Yoruba artistic and cultural conventions of Ere Ibeji images.  It is symmetrical and restrained with an oversized and elongated conical-shaped head about a third of the figure’s body. He has characteristic round bulging eyes with thick eyelids, triangular incised lashes, flared nostrils, prominent ears, full smiling lips and scarification on each cheek. His coiffure is detailed with parallel vertical plaits on both sides. The necklace with large triangular pendants covers his chest and back, and his covered genitals and triangular shaped buttocks are signs of his fertility. His power is reinforced by short, massive legs, unusually wide arms and strong shoulders, and his remarkably high thick sandals make him appear taller and add to the uniqueness of this impressive vintage piece.


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