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Title

Ifa Divination Board: Gallery Label - Current

Author

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Date

2001-06-15

Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Yoruba Ifa diviners use specially carved boards as their model of the cosmos. The diviner spreads a thin layer of sand or powder on the board, divides it into quadrants representing the realms of the universe, and then tosses 16 kola nuts across the surface. Where and how they land provides his starting point for interpreting and predicting events in the larger world through a huge verbal library of chanted poetry. Most Yoruba divination boards show the face of the deity Eshu at the top, as this one does, but boards held up by figures are rare. On this example a horseman is flanked by a drum player and a mother and child, indications of the status of the rider. Eshu is one of many gods honored by the Yoruba. Eshu has many roles and powers. He conveys people’s sacrifices to the gods and spirits and can ease a person’s way through life. Howerver, Eshu is also a trickster and can reverse people’s fortunes. He guards the ritual way but is unpredictable.
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Type: Commentary, Gallery Label - Current
Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: November 21, 2009