Divination Tapper (Iroke Ifá)
As part of a ritual carried out to predict the future, Yoruba diviners beat tappers such as this against special trays. The sound is meant to attract the attention of Ifa, the deity associated with divination. The kneeling position of the female figure decorating this tapper signifies both the diviner's greeting to Ifa and his submission to the authority of the gods of fate. The piece exhibits extraordinarily fine carving and was probably produced in the eighteenth century in Owo, a major center of both Yoruba religious life and ivory carving during that period.
- Culture: Yoruba
- Medium: Ivory
- Possible Place Made: Owo, Ondo State, Nigeria
- Dates: 18th century (possibly)
- Dimensions: 13 x 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 in. (33 x 3.8 x 3.8 cm) (show scale)
- Collections:Arts of Africa
- Museum Location: This item is on view in South Gallery, 1st Floor
- Accession Number: 2011.4.1
- Credit Line: Collection of Beatrice Riese
- Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
- Caption: Yoruba. Divination Tapper (Iroke Ifá), 18th century (possibly). Ivory, 13 x 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 in. (33 x 3.8 x 3.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Collection of Beatrice Riese, 2011.4.1. Creative Commons-BY
- Catalogue Description: Ivory staff. Upper half carved in the form of a kneeling nude woman wearing only a beaded waist band, a beaded necklace with triangular amulets in the front and back, and an elaborate coiffure. The woman holds a fan in her hands. Her face has a lip labret and three scarification marks on each cheek. The pupil of the left eye has an iron (?) inlay. The inlay of the right eye has been lost leaving behind black residue in its place. The lower pointed end of the staff is circumscribed with shallow narrow lines between bands of cross hatching. Condition: Overall condition excellent, numerous hairline cracks in surface.
- Record Completeness: Best (83%)