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AGED AND TYPICAL ORISHA IBEJI SCULPTURE

Ibeji (known as IbejíIbeyí, or Jimaguas in Latin America) is the name of an Orisha representing a pair of twins in the Yoruba religion of the Yoruba people (originating from Yorubaland, an area in and around present-day Nigeria). In the diasporic Yoruba spirituality of Latin America, Ibeji are syncretized with Saints Cosmas and Damian. In Yoruba culture and spirituality, twins are believed to be magical, and are granted protection by the Orisha Shango. If one twin should die, it represents bad fortune for the parents and the society to which they belong. The parents therefore commission a babalawo to carve a wooden Ibeji to represent the deceased twin, and the parents take care of the figure as if it were a real person. Other than the sex, the appearance of the Ibeji is determined by the sculptor. The parents then dress and decorate the ibeji to represent their own status, using clothing made from cowrie shells, as well as beads, coins and paint.