Wooden Effigies with an Inner Spark


Cultural Parallels

Various cultures throughout the world believe that the human body is an ephemeral vessel for the soul. Amongst the North American Hopi and African Yoruba there exists a conviction that spirits can also endure within the confines of small wooden effigies, respectively called Katsina dolls and Ere Ibeji. The Hopi Tribe, a sovereign nation located in northeastern Arizona, spans 1.5 million acres and comprises 12 villages across three mesas. The Yoruba primarily occupy the city of Lagos, situated in southwestern Nigeria, though they have also migrated to cities in neighboring countries.

Representing the largest ethnic group in Africa, the Yoruba are distinctive for having the highest rate of dizygotic twins in the world. Due to the prevalence of this genetic anomaly, Yoruba mythology has shifted social attitudes towards twins from overwhelming distrust to reverence. Twins are celebrated as auspicious, near-mystical beings bestowed with the ability to bring joy and prosperity…

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