X70.646 Divination Tray

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Divination Tray
Nigeria
Yoruba peoples
Wood
19th century
D: 38 cm (D: 14.9 in)
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of the Ralph B. Lloyd Foundation. X70.646

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When faced with misfortune or uncertainty, Yoruba individuals consult diviners for guidance and advice. The diviner will cast sixteen sacred palm nuts or manipulate a chain and record the numerical combinations in the wood dust on the surface of an Ifa divination tray, which will direct the diviner to particular verses (odu). The client must reflect upon these verses and take appropriate action. The cosmological motifs on the perimeter of the tray include four faces of Esu (messenger of the gods), divination equipment, a man on horseback with an entourage, and humans making love-suggesting fertility.

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