Ewe Male Shrine Figure, Togo #961


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  • Ewe Male Shrine Figure, Togo #961
  • The Ewe People, who live in southern Togo and Ghana are the eastern neighbors of Asante. Artistically, Ewe People are renowned for small wooden statues called Venavi, which, like Yoruba Ibeji and Fon Hohovi, belong to a Twin Worship Practice. These carvings representing Twins or the Spirit of Twins. Twins, or Venavi, are considered by the Ewe and other Groups as extremely Good Omens. However, if one twin dies, a carving is obtained to represent the dead twin and is cared for similarly to the actual child. This is believed to insure protection of survivor after death of a twin.
  •  Also well known are their remarkable Textiles with figurative motifs and symbols; similar to Asante Culture, but quite unique to Ewe styling. These Alklama statues, roughly carved out of wood represent the protective spirits and are kept by the Ewe in their local shrines. Mainly the Ewe are known by their dolls. Some scholars believe that they were used only as fertility dolls, other consider them toys. The women keep these dolls under their mattresses to ensure fertility.


  • Dolls with broken arms or legs were considered by the Ewe as more powerful. They ensured that children would be born healthy, with their arms and legs intact. The Ewe also produce clay figures of phallic form, called legba, used as tribal or family fetish representing the spirit of fecundity and generative power. Like the Yoruba people in Nigeria, they carve ibeji twins figurines, for 
  • Ewe Peoples inhabit southeastern Ghana, southern Benin, and the southern half of Togo and speak various dialects of Ewe, a language of the Kwa branch of the Niger-Congo family. Ewe Unity is based on language and common Traditions of Origin: their original Homeland is traced to Oyo, in western Nigeria, which was a major Yoruba Kingdom.


    Villages include several Patrilineages, in which land ownership and certain political offices are vested; lineage members also share certain Spirits and Gods. The Lineage Head, usually its oldest member, administers Lineage property, settles disputes, represents the Lineage in Village Affairs, and serves as a Priest linking the living members to the Ancestors.


    Ewe Religion is organized around a Creator God, Mawu (called Nana Buluku by the Fon of Benin), and numerous local Gods. The worship of the latter pervades daily life, for Their assistance is sought in subsistence activities, commerce, and war. Belief in the Supernatural Powers of Ancestral Spirits to aid or harm their Descendants enforces patterns of social behaviour and feelings of solidarity among Lineage Members.