cloth pouch with front flap decorated with beads; design of three stylized faces with interlocking geometric designs; braided leather tassels and handles; attached to square black mount

Bag, 20th century

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Diviners carry the tools they need for an ifa divination ceremony in a beaded bag. The three faces on this bag refer to Eshu, the messenger divinity associated with the divination process. The face of Eshu is also carved at the top of the tray seen nearby. The beaded flywhisk symbolizes the status of diviners; its many shapes, colors, and designs signal their ability to see what is not usually visible. While ifa originated in West Africa, it is also practiced under different names in Brazil, Cuba, and the United States. In 2005, the ifa divination system was added by UNESCO to the list of “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”

Details
Title
Bag
Role
Artist
Accession Number
98.47
Curator Approved

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cloth pouch with front flap decorated with beads; design of three stylized faces with interlocking geometric designs; braided leather tassels and handles; attached to square black mount