Diviner’s storage container
Attributed to Areogun (Osi-Ilorin, Ekiti region, Nigeria, ca. 18801956)
Early 20th century
Fowler Museum at UCLA; Gift of Barbara and Joseph Goldenberg; X2010.16.96a,b
Many Yoruba-speaking peoples believe in predestination and use it to explain success or failure in life. Individuals may seek the help of a diviner, or babalawo, to help resolve specific difficulties or questions through the action of Ifa, the Yoruba system of divination. Diviners typically store their divination accessories in bowls and cups, which are often elaborately carved. This divination container has been attributed to the early twentieth-century Yoruba master carver, Areogun. The deep-set relief is typical of Areogun’s hand and the motifs of two women with infants pounding yams, priests holding sacrificial fowl, and soldiers carrying guns are characteristic of his iconography.