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Diviner's Beaded Bag

Accession Number
2003/2.31

Title
Diviner's Beaded Bag

Artist(s)
Yoruba

Artist Nationality
Yoruba (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
late 20th century

Medium & Support
canvas, beads, and leather

Dimensions
26 3/8 in x 8 11/16 in x 13/16 in (67 cm x 22 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
Small, semi-circular beaded bag with three beaded tassels and a braided leather handle. The base of the beadwork is blue, with three faces, two yellow and red flowers, and an interlace pattern decorating the surface. The outside of the bag is edged with yellow and red beads. 

Primary Object Classification
Costume and Costume Accessories

Primary Object Type
purse

Collection Area
African

Rights
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

All Rights Reserved