BowlArtist(s)YorubaArtist NationalityYoruba (culture or style)Object Creation Date20th centuryMedium & SupportwoodDimensions
5 ⅛ in x 5 7/16 in x 5 3/16 in (13 cm x 13.8 cm x 13.2 cm)Credit LineGift and partial purchase from the estate of Kurt Delbanco in honor of Nicholas DelbancoSubject matter
In the process of divination, called Ifa
in the Yoruba language, a babaláwo
(diviner or "father of ancient wisdom") used sixteen sacred palm nuts (ikin
) on a tray (opon Ifa
) to reveal the forces at work in a client's life. While Orunmila, the orisa
(god) of wisdom oversaw the process of Ifa, it was necessary to honor orisa
Eshu, as he was the messenger between those in the world of the living and orun,
the realm of orisas,
ancestors, and other spirits. When not in use, the ikin
would be stored in a raised bowl, called agere ifa.
The mudfish supporting the bowl may refer to Olokun, an orisa
of the sea.
Drewal, Henry John, John Pemberton and Rowland O. Abiodun. 1989. Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought.
New York: Center for African Art.Physical Description
Small bowl supported by two fish on a circular base. The two fish are curved so that the head, tail, and one fin support the bowl while the middle of the body rests on the base. The other fin connects the fish's tail to the head. The edge of the bowl and the base are decorated with incised diagonal marks. Primary Object Classification Wood and Woodcarving Primary Object TypebowlCollection AreaAfricanRights
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