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Nigeria

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30. Yoruba bronze Ifa divination bowl, Nigeria, brass, 8" (20 cm)
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30. Yoruba bronze Ifa divination bowl, Nigeria, brass, 8" (20 cm)
  When the great African scholar William Fagg was shown this piece in 1978 he concluded that it was an Ifa divination bowl originating from the great brass casting center of Ijebu-Ode in Yorubaland. This was based on certain stylistic attributes, such as the design work on the bowl and base of this object, as well as its size.
  Concerning Ifa divination, Fagg and Pemberton have written in their book, “Yoruba, Art of West Africa”- “At the heart of Yoruba religion is the system of divination called Ifa. Ifa rituals are performed throughout Yorubaland by highly trained priests, called babalawo, ”fathers of the secret.” Using sixteen palm nuts or the opele chain, Ifa priests will “cast Ifa” in order to determine which verses from a vast library of oral poetry, Odu Ifa, should be recited in response to the petitions of a suppliant. In the chanting of the verses, the priest and client are surrounded by images born of the mythic imagination and historic circumstance, which convey how others who once suffered, as men now suffer, were able through divination and sacrifice, to draw upon the beneficent powers of the universe and reverse their ill fortune, thereby making their way propitious.”

Anonymous Collection

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