Diviner's Beaded Bag

Accession Number

Diviner's Beaded Bag


Artist Nationality
Yoruba (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
late 20th century

Medium & Support
cloth, beads, and blue pigment

18 1/2 in x 9 1/4 in x 13/16 in (47 cm x 23.5 cm x 2 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. Daniel and Sandra Mato

Subject matter
Beaded objects, such as this bag, highlighted the power and authority of their owners; in Yoruba society, only aláàsè, or those who could mediate forces in orun, the realm of orisas (gods) and spirits were allowed to wear beads. Used by diviners, bags such as this one, called apo ileke, would have held items essential for Ifa (the process of divination). Diviners were so closely associated with beaded bags that they were also called akapo, which means "carriers of bags".

References Cited:
Drewal, Henry John and John Mason. 1998. Beads Body and Soul: Art and Light in the Yoruba Universe. Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History.

Physical Description
A square bag made of dark red cloth covered with white, blue, black, red, and gold beadwork. The beadwork forms a large interlace pattern. Attached to the top of the bag is a brown cloth handle. 

Primary Object Classification
Costume and Costume Accessories

Primary Object Type

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
beadwork (visual works)
ceremonial objects
divination objects
symbols of office or status

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted