Ibeji (known as Ibejí, Ibeyí, or Jimaguas in Latin America) is an Orisha. They are syncretized with Saints Cosmas and Damian. In Yoruba culture twins are believed to be magical, and are protected by a deity named shango. If a 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 an ibeji to represent the deceased twins, 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. Ibeji figures are admired by tribal art collectors and many have made their way into western collections. The world's largest collection of Ibejis is at the British Museum, London. The first born of the twins is known as Taiwo while the second one is called Kehinde. The reason for this is that the first born observes if the world is beautiful as instructed by the later before he/she descends in accordance to Yoruba belief.
- Bruno Claessens, "Ere Ibeji: African Twin Statues", Delft 2013, ISBN 9789038922027
- Chemeche, G. "Ibeji: The Cult of Yoruba Twins". 5 Continents Editions. 2006. ISBN 978-8874390601
- Fausto Polo, "Encyclopedia of the Ibeji", Ibeji Art, 2008, ISBN 9781606438145
- "The Yoruba". Lewis/Wara Gallery. 1995. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
- Mobolade, Timothy (1971). "Ibeji Custom in Yorubaland". African Arts 4 (3).
- Leroy, Fernand; Taiwo Olaleye-Oruene; Gesina Koeppen-Schomerus; Elizabeth Bryan (April 2002). "Yoruba Customs and Beliefs Pertaining to Twins". Twin Research 5 (2): 132–136. doi:10.1375/1369052023009. PMID 11931691.
- Ray, Benjamin C. Notes from "African Art: Aesthetics and Meaning" art exhibit. Bayly Art Museum, University of Virginia. January 25 – August 15, 1993.
- "Ibeji Archive". the web-site containing the largest existing collection of photos of Ibeji.