African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Yoruba Plateau

Opon Ifa Yoruba divination tray (N° 18300)

Supports of the ritualist named babalawo (or Babalao, or Babaal-wo, pronounced Baba-a-l'wo), priest of Ifa, in the Yoruba language, these trays exist in three forms, including the circular ( opon ribiti) such as this copy which was used in Abomey. They are intended for ifa, a system of divination that represents the teachings of the orisha Orunmila, orisha of Wisdom. The babalawo claim to be securing the future through their communication with Orunmila. In Yoruba thought in Nigeria and in Benin, orishas form a variety of divine spirits controlling natural forces. They are found mainly in Yoruba cosmogony but more widely in East West Africa in the diasporas of Central and South America. The center of the tray, aarin opon , forms a picture in which the dust of wood allows the soothsayer to trace the solutions to his client's problem. The outer frieze, where the face of Esu/Elegba divine messenger appears, takes up symbols relating to Yoruba myths. During the divination process, in order to summon the orishas and accompany his songs, the soothsayer hammers the tray with a rattle carved in wood or ivory (iroké). Twenty-five million Yoruba are scattered between Nigeria, Benin, and Togo. Among the broad Yoruba pantheon, the god named Ogun god of iron and war, was also that of blacksmiths and sculptors. The creator Olodumare reigns over four hundred orisha and spirits of nature, living in streams and forests. They are honored in festive rites featuring various masks and ritual objects.
High on a base: 40 cm. Patina of abrased use.  

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Possibility of payment in2x (2x 245.0 €)

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OriginColl. belge Wauters
Height cm30
Width32 cm
Weight0.85 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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