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Ibejis,Yoruba, S. W. Nigeria.
Same Sex Twins.
Wood, Beads, Metal Bracelets, Cowrie shells, Vegetal pigment.
Height: From left to right 10 1/2", 10"
Twins mounted on a stand.
As it regards their visual appearance, even though these are same sex female Ibejis, it seems that the left twin was assigned the male gender and therefore had a cowrie shell placed as a male genitalia and was less adorned with beads. He also had a scarification symbol on the forehead, whereas the one we assume to be female, did not. It appears the right twin was assigned the female gender as she was more adorned with jewelry (beads) as females would sometimes be adorned, and also was allowed multiple metal bracelets on each arm. Additionally, she appeared more robustly built, which in African mythology reflected female beauty and well being!
Regularly, Ibejis were carved as male and female. So it was celebratory to us to have found these pair, as nature would periodically produce same sex twins.
For additional legend of Ibejis, please refer to Ezn. 158
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