Amongst the Yoruba, twins are regarded as extraordinary beings protected by the god, Sango. It is believed that twins are spiritually one inseparable being and as such, should a twin die, a statuette (ere ibeji) is made to be used as a container for the soul of the deceased twin.
The created ere ibeji must be cared for, fed, bathed and spoken to as if the child was still alive; this is to maintain the spiritual link between the physical, living child and the deceased twin. Ere ibeji figures are also expected to ward off evil from the household and to instead bring good fortune to the home. It is believed that mothers and family members that fail to respect and care for the ere ibeji provoke curses from the gods. (Chemeche, 2006)
Common features among all ere ibeji:
Regional variations (Igbomina sub-group / Offa city):
NOTE: Sources also point to this type of ere ibeji coming from the town called ‘Baba Magba’ although its unclear if this is indeed a town or of the master carver by the same name