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Yoruba Iroke Ifa Divination Ivory Bone Tapper

AGE: – 17th – 18th Century
DESCRIPTION: – Yoruba Iroke Ifa Divination Ivory Bone Tapper

LENGTH: – 52cm
WEIGHT: – 650gms
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Rare Yoruba Iroke Ifa Divination Ivory Bone Tapper sourced from the Ivory Coast is a carved wand type object used by a shaman among the Yoruba people in Nigeria who has the special gift of divination to invoke the god Orunmila, the god of knowledge, wisdom, and the god of fate also referred to as Ifa.

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Ifa tappers are commonly made of ivory but they are also made of wood or metal. Ivory in Yorubaland is treasured for its durability and its association with the elephant which is a symbol of sovereignty and prestige to the Yoruba people.

These diviners are usually seen with three sections, a pointed end, a middle section which is usually carved in the form of a  man or a woman, and the third section which can be plain or carved with a variety of patterns.

This particular Ifa shows the figure of a man with a beard seated on a small seat with both hands resting on his stomach. The centre part is hollow with a seed presumably from a tree free to rattle when the Ifa is tapped. Two bands with a geometric pattern is carved into the Ifa under the seat and again on the beginning of the tapping section with two decoratively carved sections separated by a smooth bulbous section between two carved bands.

The divination process is performed by the diviner tapping with the pointed end  of the iroke lfa on a divination tray requesting the god Orunmila to help the person seeking advice to solve their problems, whether it be for healing, financial advice, solving family feuds or a variety of other reasons.

The diviner starts with a gentle tapping on the divination tray as a form of greeting and to open the channels of communication with the spirit world.

This is an interesting paper written by O. I. Pogoson and A. O. Akande on the history of Ifa divination among the Yoruba people

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