X92.177 Beaded foot cushion

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Beaded foot cushion
Nigeria
Yoruba peoples
Cloth, thread, glass beads, metal beads, leather, burlap, plant material
H: 15.5 cm, Diam: 35.5 cm (H: 6.1 in, Diam: 13.9 in)
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Hammer. X92.177

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Description

The stool’s circular form with the four cardinal directions marked by designs, as with opon Ifa (divination trays), suggests the crossroads and the play of forces that oba must confront on behalf of their people. In fact, this cushion has nine positions, reminiscent of the opening invocations by babalawo to honor ancient diviners. The British-style crowns are adapted from coats of arms prototypes. Elephant-rulers flank the crowns. Around the sides of the stool, four faces with ase written on their foreheads alternate with European-inspired floral patterns to cover the surface.

Source: Drewal, H., Mason, J. (1998). “Beads, Body, and Soul – Art and Light in the Yoruba Universe”, Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History. page 216

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