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Divination Tapper

Divination Tapper (iroke ifa)

Yoruba People
Nigeria
Divination Tapper (iroke ifa)
20th Century
Beads and ivory
Gift of Rod McGalliard
1995.28.22

Divination tappers, or iroke ifa, are used by Ifa priests during divination. The pointed end is tapped against the divination tray to greet Orunmila, the god of fate, also known as Ifa. Generally, iroke ifa are made of wood, but this exceptionally opulent example has been carved of ivory and adorned with elaborate beadwork on the handle and the sheath. Beadwork is the prerogative of royalty but is also extended to priests and diviners. The sheath bears images of a chameleon – a primordial creature known for its wise, cautious behavior – and the face is that of a deity who guides the divination process.

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