X97.16.3 Beaded apron

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Artist: Felipe Garcia Villamil
Velvet, beads, cowrie shells, thread
Made in 1997
W: 40 cm, H: 45.1 cm, D: 2.2 cm (W: 15.7 in, H: 17.7 in, D: .86 in)
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Museum Purchase. X97.16.3


Bante (apron) dedicated to Sango and other powers who use fire and its heat to intimidate, worn on the smallest bata drum (okonkolo). It is adorned with an edun ara (thunder axe), Sango’s weapons of intimidation. Orunmila, the ororisa of divination, is represented by design of cowries and yellow and green beads placed at the center of the axe-head. The gold piping reminds us of Osumare (rainbow serpent) who is the servant of Sango and the link to ancestral authority and continuity. The cowrie florets, edged with black and red, and white and red beads, at the four corners of the apron represent Esu-Elegba and Sango. Created in 1997 by Felipe Garcia Villamil.

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 149