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Yoruba ritual bowl, Nigeria, c 1880-1920

Whicher, Adrian

Yoruba ritual bowl, Nigeria, c 1880-1920
4 0 c m
actual image size: 26cm x 32cm


This carved wooden ritual bowl is from the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria and was one of a set of 'ifa' ritual bowls known as 'Adjella-ifa', which were used for divination. It is in the form of a hen supported by a group of figures including a woman and child, and the Yoruba trickster god, Eshu (or Elegba). Eshu appears in all Yoruba divination bowls or trays and carries human sacrifices to Ifa in the divination proces. Palm kernels are stored in the bowl which is pased from hand to hand to determine the cause of an illnes.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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