Beaded Diviner's NecklaceArtist(s)YorubaArtist NationalityYoruba (culture or style)Object Creation Date20th centuryMedium & Supportcloth, multi-colored beadwork, seeds or nuts Dimensions
20 1/16 in x 17 13/16 in x 1 15/16 in (50.96 cm x 45.24 cm x 4.92 cm);1 3/4 in x 10 5/8 in x 11 1/4 in (4.45 cm x 26.99 cm x 28.58 cm)Credit LineGift of Dr. James and Vivian CurtisSubject matter
Beaded objects, such as this necklace, 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. Worn by diviners of Ifa,
the process of divination, necklaces such as this one, called odigba Ifa
, protected and empowered the diviner. The bead-covered cylinders were often made from gbekude
(meaning "tie-up-Death"), a tree sacred to Orunmila, the orisa
. The two panels at each end may be pouches, which would often have powerful substances sewn into them; while the pouches or panels mark the vulnerable points of a body (the chest and the back of the neck) the they also serve to protect them.
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 necklace composed of two beaded, square panels joined by a double strand of clusters of beads. The double strand joining the panels consists of beads in shades of green, blue, pink, yellow, and white. The square panels are decorated with zig-zag patterns in various colors and feature a face in the center, made of red beads. Primary Object Classification Jewelry Primary Object TypenecklaceCollection AreaAfricanRights
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symbols of office or status