at the top of tapper is a large, square head with a face characterized by oval, wide-set eyes, prominent nose, and partially open mouth; on top of head is a small headdress carved with patterned lines and slightly rounded at top; figure kneels on cone shape of tapper--her arms are bent at her waist and she cups her breasts with her hands; figure's belly is round with a large belly button and belt at her waist; top of tapper cone has a band of hash-mark-like carvings; tapper curves down to a point; tan in color overall

Tapper, 18th century

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Ivoryexpand_more

Gift of Raymond A. and Ruth A. Reisterexpand_more  2015.62.32

Tappers are commonly used in Yoruba divination practices to greet and summon Orunmila, the god of fate who is associated with knowledge and wisdom. This example is made of ivory, a material treasured for its durability, scarcity, and association with the elephant—a symbol of sovereignty. Its pointed end is used to tap the divination tray. The handle is formed by a kneeling female figure holding her breasts, a common motif in Yoruba art that refers to humanity receiving spiritual nourishment.

Details
Title
Tapper
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2015.62.32
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at the top of tapper is a large, square head with a face characterized by oval, wide-set eyes, prominent nose, and partially open mouth; on top of head is a small headdress carved with patterned lines and slightly rounded at top; figure kneels on cone shape of tapper--her arms are bent at her waist and she cups her breasts with her hands; figure's belly is round with a large belly button and belt at her waist; top of tapper cone has a band of hash-mark-like carvings; tapper curves down to a point; tan in color overall