Our next Hands on History session, on Saturday 17th September will explore the theme of ‘Devotion.’ On display will be a variety of objects that each tell a different story and establish how devotion can be found in love, friendship, loyalty and family.
One of the objects we will share with you is this beautifully carved African twin statuette from the Yoruba tribe, one of Africa’s largest ethnic groups located in southwestern Nigeria. The tribe is renowned for its high twinning rate, however due to genetics many of the twins are born early and do not survive infancy without the aid of modern medicine.
Through ritual & tradition the tribe believe twins have special supernatural powers and produce unique wooden statues to commemorate and replicate the lost twin. The inanimate statue is treated as though alive; dressed in clothing and jewellery, ritually washed in herbs and presented with refreshment each time the mother goes to eat.
This tradition now exists only in Yoruba, where the devoted mother maintains the statue on a domestic altar and continues to look after the child she has lost. Although this story is incredibly sad, there is true beauty in the ritual, where by commemorating the child good fortune is brought to the family and also to the children the mother may have in the future.
Not all devotions are so sad many are filled with joy. We are all devoted to something and we would love to hear about the devotions you might have!
We look forward to seeing you in the picture gallery on Saturday the 17th September from 11.00am until 4.00pm.