Ewe Venavi or Venovi Figure
These figures embody the traditional double appearance of twins. The Ewe people call them Venavi, and they are revered.
Approx Age: Mid 20th Century
Materials: Wood, Glass Beads
Dimensions cm: 20 tall
Ref. Number: 0956
An interesting Ewe Venavi or Venovi Figure or doll. This female doll has a very smooth patina and has been so cherished that it has caused the distortion of her facial features. The trials of life have also taken their toll on this little figure leading to a few cracks that are clearly visible to the side of her head, down her back and one side of her body. Even her toes have been lost over the years but she stands strong on a black plinth. Decorated with a necklace of blue and white glass beads interlaced with wooden beads, possibly added at a later date, this is a nice figure of an Ewe doll.
Provenance: Ex UK Collection.
These figures embody the traditional double appearance of twins. The Ewe people call them Venavi, and they are revered. The modern appearance is explained by the fact that dead twins are seen as living people, because they have accepted modern ways. The figures wear shoes, trousers and other objects. The statues are a remembrance of the dead twins. No one ever says a twin has died. They say he or she is in the bush fetching fire wood. This means that he is not far and will come back soon. Twins are considered to be immortal. From birth on they are considered to be gods or spirits, and must always get special care.
If twins are to be of any benefit, they must be housed and looked after particularly well. They must be given the best food, drink and clothes. One tries to spoil them in every possible way, in order for them to display their abilities for the benefit of the family, rather than making them feel so neglected that they might do harm.
Among some groups, such as the Yoruba in Nigeria, the Ewe in Togo, and the Fon in Benin, a real twin cult has sprung up. Twins are regarded as the chosen ones of the spirit powers. Their amazing closeness, which is believed to survive even death, is stressed. The Yoruba beieve that twins have a joint soul. If one dies, the other twin is also threatened with death.Their soul has lost its equilibrium and sways between this world and the next. The dead twin determinedly tries to pull the survivor over to him as soon as possble. That has to be opposed. Not only do the parents put more effort then ever into the surviving child , they also try to keep the dead one in their midst.
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