An extremely unusual male Ibeji. Possessing a powerful chest area with scarification on his face, right arm & shoulder, on the back of his neck and radiating down under the back of his arms. He has a finely carved lizard climbing up his left arm. This is probably a unique figure. Dark brown patina.
19th / early 20th century
Possibly Shaki or Oshogbo
All of these Ibeji were collected between May, 1958 and March, 1962 by one British collector who encountered his first sculpture in a small market in Oyo whilst he was working in western Nigeria as a biochemist. He subsequently developed an interest in the Yoruba and their religion and whilst continuing to purchase Ibeji he also attended and photographed the Yourba festivals. Through a network of priests and devotees he visited many villages and amassed a personal archive of research material and photographs. This material was used for lectures and some of the photographs were published whilst he was living in the USA. The material was copied by the Museum of Primitive Art and is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
This personal collection of Ibeji was formed to illustrate the Yoruba sculptural aesthetic, and out of a great interest in the people and their beliefs.
cf. Ibeji. Mareidi & Gert Stoll, 1980. illus. 130. 131